Martin Luther revolutionized German culture and made a dent in standardizing their language. He would travel and read his translation of the Bible into the vernacular and ask each audience that listened, “How did this sound? Was it too banal? Was it strong? Did it sound good?”
He rewrote and rewrote and continued reading aloud until he got “yes” as a response from everyone from the baker to the welder to the merchant. His writing was a variant of German, intelligible to both northern and southern Germans, his target market solely because he had his system of feedback, he listened, he rewrote.
Note, Luther didn’t change the message of his writing, he merely changed the wording to effectively communicate the message he wanted. (He did get in some heat for adding some words when he shouldn’t have. Remember, this is a translation of the Bible, not much room for creativity.)
Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. – Martin Luther
Who was Luther and why does he deserve this blog post? He was a constant seeker and recipient of feedback. He didn’t take criticism personally. He ignored the naysayers. If some commoner expressed a dissatisfaction with his words, Luther didn’t begin to question whether he himself was right or wrong, he merely wondered what he could do better to communicate his beliefs.
Now-a-days I see people quit, toss their business plans, and remove their books from Amazon because their message didn’t resonate with whom they thought it would. I witness speakers decide not to speak in front of an audience again because their first audience wasn’t convinced by their message. I miss out on seeing a starting blogger become influential because they stop blogging. Why continue if no one is reading, right?
By doing what Luther did and sharing our ideas, our blog posts, our podcasts, our business plans, our art, we have the opportunity (I mean, come on, there are more than seven billion connected people on this planet) to check whether our way of communicating is effective for the audience we’re reaching for. Why are we not doing this more often?
Why are we limiting ourselves to mastermind groups, to people who already think like us, to our idols or our best friends when it comes to seeking feedback and tweaking the way we communicate? Certainly I’m not suggesting reaching out to all seven billion people, but the group you’re now letting influence your communications can increase in size and as a result your words, your art, your message can get stronger.
Stay Positive & Send Something My Way, I’ll Give Some Feedback firstname.lastname@example.org
* Worth a read: The social Origins of Good ideas. Essentially the best ideas come from outside communities, just as often as the best feedback.