How to Get Exceptional Results
Legendary entertainer, songwriter, actor, dancer and singer Eddie Cantor once famously said, “The audience is never wrong.”
This became a matter of principle to him and a key to his success across Broadway, radio, movies and early TV. It also helped give him the credentials and wide respect necessary to help develop the March of Dimes. His secret to success, he said, was:
If a performance failed to go across, it was either the fault of the material or the manner of presentation. By carefully correcting the one or the other or both with an eye to the peculiarities of the audience I could never fail a second time.1
That acceptance of feedback is something that my guest on this episode of “Aim Higher” would agree with. Steve shares that the most successful individuals in any profession are people who don’t just “accept” criticism well, but as Steve said to me—clamor for it.
Communicate and Connect
Steve Herz is President of The Montag Group, a sports and entertainment talent and marketing consultancy. His agency represents over 250 of today’s top journalists, broadcast executives, and media personalities – at networks like CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, ESPN and elsewhere. His new book, Don’t Take Yes for an Answer is out this week, and in it he shows us how to harness three critical connection qualities that we respond to most—AWE: Authority, Warmth and Energy. He believes that all other things being equal, our success depends on our ability to communicate and connect.
Specifically, on “Aim Higher,” we talk about how warmth can make it easier to seek out and accept the kind of criticism Cantor found so vital to success.
The Power of Critical Feedback
We agree that a culture of unending (and often insincere) positive feedback leads to stagnation. Too many glowing reviews can limit growth and be a real danger. Steve makes the excellent point that once you realize this—that a lack of critical feedback leads to long-term harm—you’ll change your mindset and welcome criticism.
It’s never fun to stand on stage and hear crickets. But if you use that feedback wisely—as Eddie Cantor did, and as Steve can teach you to do—then you can connect in ways that will help you become so much more successful.
Listen in and get started. Click here to listen to the Aim Higher podcast. (And thank you to everyone listening, rating, and commenting.)
1Taylor, William Robert. 1996. Inventing Times Square: commerce and culture at the crossroads of the world. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
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For more information, see Don’t Take Yes for an Answer.
Photo credit: Nicholas Green.