CHAMPION STRATEGIES – PUBLIC SPEAKING WORKSHOP – AUGUST 15, 2021
HOW TO COLLECT FEEDBACK ON A PRESENTATION (Pt. 2)
The most common way to solicit feedback is through a survey. As a professional speaker, though, I have found that this technique is the least helpful. Surveys basically tell you if your audience liked you. They typically don’t let you know how well you presented.
In the early days of our presentation skills class, we surveyed every graduate. I used the surveys as a way to measure instructor effectiveness.
Out of the blue, I got a phone call from a class member who wanted a partial tuition refund. When I asked him to clarify, he said, “Well, the instructor let us out of class 30 minutes early each day. I want a refund for the missed time.” It was a weird request, so I did some investigating.
I looked at past surveys from this guy’s instructor. The exit surveys for the instructor were all top-notch. I decided to set up an audit of this instructor’s next class. Turns out that the instructor wasn’t following our instructor guidelines. His class members weren’t getting the massive reduction in public speaking fear that we promised. However, they had no way of knowing this. They liked the instructor, so they gave him high marks on the surveys. The results they received were subpar, though.
- Collect Feedback on a Presentation from Friends or Coworkers
This type of feedback on a presentation can also be detrimental. Remember that when we ask a friend, coworker, or boss for “feedback,” they think we want “criticism.” Most of the time, these people mean well, but they will want to help you improve. So, even if you did well, they will try to find some way to help you get better. Many of these suggestions can be counter-effective. These suggestions can have the speaker focus on symptoms versus fixing problems.
For instance, if a speaker talks faster when he/she is nervous, a friend might suggest to slow down. However, this is a symptom of nervousness. Slowing down will just make the person more conscious of the nervousness. So, the nervousness will likely show up in a multitude of additional symptoms.
An analogy for this would be if your “Check Engine” light comes on. You can crawl under the dashboard and snip the electric wire to the light. The light will go off. The problem with the engine will still be there.
It is better to ask these friends for more specific feedback. “Did what I say make sense?” or “Was what I said easy to understand?”
- Self-Criticism from Video Presentation Feedback
This final type of feedback is the most detrimental. We are our own worst critic. So, I would never encourage you to video yourself as a way to improve your presentation performance. You will knit-pick every negative thing that you see about yourself. When we conduct video feedback in our presentation seminars, we focus on the positive. If you focus on your natural strengths, you will grow as a speaker. If you focus on your weaknesses, they will grow.