Everyone has an opinion and that applies to your presentation. One of the biggest mistakes my clients tend to make is not being curious about what others think or fearing that information. The reason I say that’s a mistake is that it’s impossible to improve in the absence of feedback. That means the real question is…how do we solicit comments?
Any feedback we receive is only as good as the question we ask to obtain that information. How often have you had someone ask “How did I do?” If you’re like most people, your comment was something like “Great job or Nice job” But what does that really mean—nothing. It’s too vague and leaves the speaker in the dark.
Consider these 5 recommendations the next time you give a presentation:
1. Give a dry run of your presentation to a focus group of trusted colleagues and let them know in advance that the more specific their comments the greater the value. This information will now be useful to you as you refine your presentation before you actually deliver it.
2. Ask several different people the following questions in person right after you speak: What did you think of my opening remarks? Which slides/visuals stood out for you? How effective were my case studies or stories? What was your take away from my presentation? How clear were the data I shared?
3. You may also send a brief objective evaluation out to your attendees within 24 hours of your presentation using a tool such as Survey Monkey. Consider using a numerical rating form of 1-5. You may also add a couple of subjective or open-ended questions such as What did you like the best? What would you suggest changing?
4. Remember that your audience is always providing information while you’re speaking so pay close attention to their body language, non-verbal behavior and overall energy level.
5. You may also opt to video record your presentation so you can self-assess and observe your: posture, use of space, gestures, eye-contact, vocal intonation, organization and flow of speaking points, use of visuals, opening and closing, management of Q&A.
It’s safe to say that no presentation is perfect which means we can always improve as long as we ask the right questions, welcome comments and make changes as appropriate.
Need more ideas…I’m happy to consult with you.