Collecting Presentation Feedback to Improve Your Skills

presentation feedback

Why Is Getting Presentation Feedback So Important?

Collecting presentation feedback is probably low on your list of priorities, especially if you’re terrified of public speaking and not making a fool of yourself in front of a group of people is your biggest concern. But having some sort of response system in place so your audience can provide you with feedback on your presentation is an incredibly useful (not to mention inexpensive) way to improve your public speaking skills and become an even better presenter.

Why is getting presentation feedback so important?

For starters, when people provide you with feedback—even if it’s negative—you know they were paying attention. They were listening and watching, and by telling you what they thought of your presentation, they’re giving you input on your overall message, from what you said to how you said it.

That’s powerful information; it’s the best way for you to know if your presentation is doing what you want it to, whether that’s to inform, persuade, or motivate other people. Who better to tell you than the people in your audience?

Choose The Right Response System

Despite its usefulness, speakers continue to pass up the opportunity to poll audiences to get their feedback on a presentation. Certainly, no one wants to feel rejected or be told their presentation was terrible, but wouldn’t you rather be told your presentation missed the mark, than to continue delivering bad presentations that don’t engage audiences?

Not only that, but without presentation feedback, a speaker is forced to self-evaluate. Some will be overly-critical while others will be self-congratulatory—neither of which are beneficial or inspire the speaker to get better.

Offer a Presentation Feedback Form

In our Presentation Skills Training workshops, we talk about the importance of making a connection with the audience, and that connection doesn’t need to end with the presentation.

An immediate response system, such as providing your audience with a presentation feedback form to fill in and return at the end of the presentation is one way to gauge your performance. You can also encourage audience members to use other methods to provide feedback, such as directly to you through email, on social media, or online on Google or Yelp. This way, they’re not only helping you by rating your presentation, but their positive reviews will bolster your reputation, which will encourage others to work with you. And they’re staying connected with you beyond the presentation.

If the thought of having people “judge” your presentation frightens you, think about how getting positive feedback will make you feel. If you’re someone who lacks confidence or tends to be self-critical of your performance, hearing others tell you your presentation was inspiring or enjoyable can go a long way to helping you overcome your feelings of inadequacy.

Using Presentation Feedback to Achieve Your Goals

Whatever the situation that’s brought you to the podium—whether you’re a keynote speaker at a fundraiser or delivering a sales pitch—getting presentation feedback can be energizing. Consider how you feel when a manager or co-worker congratulates you on a job well done. You feel invigorated and motived to continue doing a good job that gets recognized.

The same is true of positive presentation feedback: When you know you’ve achieved your goal of connecting with an audience, you’re motivated to keep making those connections—and make them even better.

So what should your presentation feedback form (or other response system) look like? That’s up to you. But however you decide to collect presentation feedback, use the comments you receive to:

  • Assess what you are doing well and where you need to improve
  • Understand how your message is being received by others
  • Direct you toward achieving your goals (e.g., increase your number of sales)

Not All Feedback is Bad

The term ‘feedback’ has earned a bad rap with some people. They hear it and run because they’re afraid someone will say something negative about them.

Not all feedback is negative, and not all of it is positive. But it should always be constructive, and as a public speaker you should want to hear it all. It’s the best way to know what your audience is getting from your presentation so you can improve your public speaking skills.

Do you provide opportunities for your audiences to give feedback? Tell us about it in the Comments section or find us on social media and bring the conversation there. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

3 Responses

  1. I joined Toastmasters a year ago and have had some good feedback and some not so good. Some of the members were in my shoes, really not sure how to evaluate my presentations very well. Feedback is great but I guess it depends on the person giving the feedback.

  2. Self evaluation is always hard to do. I’m a firm believer in having another person critique your work- it’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself!

  3. Good post!
    I also had a bad feeling about the feedback until I read this post.
    I’ll be definitely using feedback form next time.
    I might still feel a bit uneasy, though.

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