The term sounding board originally comes church design: A sounding board is a structure placed above or behind a pulpit or other presentation platform which helps to project the sound of the speaker. But most of us use this term to describe a person who listens intently to us in order to provide some kind of feedback and insights that might not have otherwise occurred to us.
I recently had a fantastic sounding board experience. Someone had referred me to Mark Levy, a great guy who other speakers have used to rethink how they are positioning themselves.
A magician, a marketer, a great storyteller, but what makes Mark so special is that he is a great questioner and listener. What I thought would be a brief lunch turned out to be about 3.5 hours of fantastic and insightful conversation. Things that I thought I had figured out long ago, suddenly needed to be reexamined, possibly rethought.
Hopefully, at some point, everyone will see the results of what I learned that day — in the form of enhanced positioning and clarity and value from me. But that’s for later.
Here, now, spend a moment pondering: Who is your sounding board? How often do you check in with him or her? Should you be doing so more often? Do you have different sounding boards for different kinds of challenges and situations?
The ultimate sounding board in business was probably Peter Drucker. While he was alive, business leaders would come to sit at his feet and have him as the most simple-yet-profound questions. Among them: “What business are you in?” Most would tell you that it is so easy to answer that question…it’s always the second slide in their standard PowerPoint presentation. Yet the truly smart ones would dig deep into it, with a sounding board, like Drucker, asking many follow up questions until they truly discovered The Truth.
Who is helping you discover Your Truth?