Most of us are pretty quick to evaluate or self-assess. Whether we prefer to give ourselves a letter (e.g. B+) or numeric (7 out of 10) rating, this is the norm. Of course we also hear feedback from our peers and colleagues along the way (e.g. “Great job,” “You rock!” “Way to go!”). Notice that the comments we hear are almost always positive…I don’t know many people who want to run the risk of truly being sincere.

Now some of you may be thinking that all of what you’ve just read sounds right; so what’s the rub? Glad you asked. While what I’ve just described is a form of feedback…reality is it’s not particularly helpful. It’s all pretty subjective and not attached to any specific behavior. That’s a real problem if we’re striving to improve. If you re-read the first paragraph, you’ll quickly realize it’s not substantiated with actual details or examples.

The solution is something I created for those I coach. I call it their presentation log. My advice to clients is to consistently complete their presentation log within 24-48 hours of any speaking engagement, while it’s still fresh on their mind vs. merely a fuzzy memory. The log is divided into 3 categories (content, delivery, technique). Each category has specific behaviors that the speaker needs to evaluate with a section for additional notes that may be relevant.

This tool provides extremely useful information in terms of exactly what went well and what needs to improve. Clients who use the presentation log understand its value and comment that it’s quite beneficial as they continue their professional development as a speaker.

If you’d like to start using this tool or want to ask questions, I welcome your input. Remember that feedback is much more than “checking the box.”