The Power of Feedback

When most people are asked what their actual fears are when it comes to public speaking, it normally comes down to three different responses: fear of judgement, fear of being unprepared, and the risk of looking like a fool. Regardless of how you feel about giving a presentation, the fact is you cannot shy away from it if you want to professionally succeed and advance in your career.

You may not like it, but public speaking should be a skill that you are continually trying to improve. However, that can be a difficult thing for most people as they lack a key component in the world of improvement: feedback. After a presentation, your audience members are likely to give you words of encouragement or congratulatory messages out of kindness or for the sake of being polite. Although it may feel nice at the time, this isn’t any kind of constructive feedback that could help you give an even better speech next time.

As someone who is receiving the presentation feedback or giving it to a colleague, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to notes on a speech:

  • Constructive feedback should always be specific and clear with examples, if possible. It should focus on being descriptive about the facts of the presentation instead of evaluated based on personal opinions.
  • Although you are critiquing a speech, it is important to remember that you will be speaking to a living, feeling human being, so be sure to use positive phrasing. What he or she delivered may have been challenging, so try to explicitly identify the areas in which they excelled and positively reinforce that. As the person giving feedback, you should make sure that your intention is always to be helpful.
  • Instead of trying to explain what you would have personally done in a situation, frame your feedback with action-oriented examples from the speaker’s own work. This, again, isn’t about personal feelings, but fact-based improvements.
  • You can try explaining how a change in behavior can produce a better result for their next presentation. He or she will be more likely to take your feedback into consideration next time if they can see how changing their behavior could produce more or better results.

At Communispond, we have built our Executive Presentation Skills® seminars on the basis of feedback. Participants build the skills and confidence to be able to deliver an effective speech while receiving real-time feedback from instructors over the duration of the course. Presentations during the course are also video recroded so that participants can watch themselves and giving self-feedback as well.

To learn more about our Executive Presentation Skills seminars, attend a public seminar, or contact us for a free consultation about corporate learning, click here.

Blog post contributed by:

Randy Furches

Randy Furches

Managing Director — Southeast
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