Importance of getting feedback as a public speaker
Getting feedback as a public speaker
If you want to improve your public speaking skills, all you have to do is ask.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But many of us are afraid of asking for feedback, or we don’t know the right way to ask for it to achieve the response we want.
I was at my ballroom classes the other day learning how to master the Progressive Chasse. It’s a left-turning 4-step figure that progresses down line of dance, to the counts “Slow, quick quick slow”. I’ve been trying to master this proficiently for a few months and I just couldn’t get it.
I felt so frustrated. Where was I going wrong?
We often work with new dance partners because it helps us become more flexible as dancers and learn to match the rhythm and style of a different partner.
After the class, I turned to my new partner and said: “What do I need to do differently to make this work?”
He could tell I was totally overthinking the step. He could see it in my face during the dance. “You’re thinking about it so much.” He smiled.
Ugh? Could it really be that simple?
I also asked one of my close friends at the class to film me so I could see what it looked like from the floor. It wasn’t easy watching myself back, but I was pleased that in some parts I looked to be in full flow, but in others, I could definitely see where I was going wrong.
Asking for simple feedback and watching myself back led to dramatic improvements in my ballroom dancing. I just needed to ASK!
Have you noticed that all gold-medal athletes, successful entrepreneurs, and top business leaders are always asking:
How can I get better?
When it comes to preparing a speech, there are many ways you can solicit feedback:
- Film yourself: Pretend you are talking to the audience and put your iPhone below your eye-level so you get to see what your audience see.
- Ask a trusted colleague: This doesn’t have to be someone senior, just someone whose opinions you value and maybe choose someone who may be similar demographics and interests to your audience.
- Ask the audience: Now you’re really putting yourself out to dry here, but following your presentation, there’s nothing to stop you asking an audience member in the break out: “What did you think? Did my message need clarifying? Did my slides need to be simplified?” Avoid asking this to a group of people. Find someone who is standing alone as they’re more likely to be honest with you with that 1-to-1 contact.
- Get professional help: I now offer video feedback consultations where you send me the video clip of your presentation, and I record specific feedback to guide and direct you through a more convincing and effective presentation.
Asking for feedback is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of confidence.
You won’t ever be able to improve unless you ask. And remember that sometimes just the smallest changes can make the biggest impact.
Submit your video presentation here for a detailed video evaluation that will take your speech or presentation from good to great.