Feedback is “The Breakfast of Champion Speakers”
“Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.” – Winston Churchill
When I was a child, there was a famous commercial for Wheaties cereal on TV. It showed an American athlete going about his sport. Then the narrator came on and said, “Wheaties – The Breakfast of Champions.” In fact, Wheaties cereal boxes had these athletes on the boxes with the same tagline.
A number of years later Dr. Ken Blanchard of “One Minute Fame” said, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.”
Let’s turn that around and say, “Feedback – The Breakfast of Champion Speakers.”
Have you ever thought about how important feedback is to your growth as a speaker? If you haven’t, read on!
I am taking you on a journey, your presentation journey examining the value of feedback before, during, and after your presentation.
Feedback Before Your Presentation
I have seen more speakers than I care to admit working on their slides right up to the time they are to deliver their presentation. They handicap themselves tremendously by not seeking feedback during their presentation preparation.
As a reader of these weekly newsletters, you know presentation preparation includes practicing your delivery also, not only preparing your slides. Most speakers do not know this and are then disappointed when their presentation is flat with their audience.
There are a number of reasons why speakers don’t ask for feedback:
Sometimes speakers don’t ask for feedback because they don’t know it’s real benefits.
Sometimes they don’t ask for feedback because they are fearful of what others may say about their presentation, and
Sometimes, unfortunately, some speakers do not believe they need feedback.
Although it not as assured as the sun rising in the morning, in my experience, every speaker will benefit greatly if they seek feedback of their presentation, including his/her delivery, before the actual presentation.
The distinct benefits of practicing before your actual presentation delivery are many. The following are three of those benefits:
It reduces the blind spots you have about your presentation
It gives you insights into what needs to be changed in your presentation
It gives you affirmation on the parts of your presentation that will go over well with your audience
So feedback on your presentation before the actual presentation is essential to delivering an outstanding presentation.
You may not realize, but you are also getting constant feedback during your presentation.
Feedback During Your Presentation
You receive some of the most valuable feedback as you are delivering your presentation. This kind of feedback is the most important because what better test can there be than speaking in front of your audience.
Here are some methods to capture audience feedback during your presentation delivery:
Have colleagues or friends take notes during the presentation. Ask them to take notes on audience reactions, audience questions, and audience body language.
Have a notepad on a nearby lectern and take notes yourself during your presentation
Have your presentation and the audience video recorded. This does take two cameras, one on you and one on the audience, but it is worth it. Watch the video in private with a cup of your favorite flavored coffee and dissect your performance. It will be an “eye opener” for you.
So, feedback on your presentation before you deliver it and during your presentation are essential to preparing and delivering an outstanding presentation.
Feedback after your presentation is also valuable because the audience’s impressions after your presentation are the most accurate of all feedback.
Feedback After Your Presentation
Very few speakers ask for feedback after their presentation. Why is this?
Most speakers are just glad the presentation is over, not realizing this is the exact time to get the most accurate feedback about their presentation. So, how can you get this valuable feedback?
Put an evaluation form on each seat. During your introduction, tell your audience that you are constantly improving your presentations. One powerful way to do this is to seek written audience evaluations.
Use technology to get your audience’s feedback. Have them text the specific word “Evaluation” to a number you set up beforehand. When they text, they will get back a URL to click to get to your evaluation form. There are many software tools available to everyone now to do this.
A number of your audience’s members will come up to you after your presentation wanting to talk to you. Ask them what they thought of the presentation. What parts did they like? What parts did they not like? How can you improve your presentation?
Seek feedback on your presentation before you deliver it, during it, and afterwards.
Feedback really is “The Breakfast” of Speaking Champions!”
Don’t you want to be a champion speaker?
Call to Action
Before your presentation, seek feedback from trusted colleagues and friends concerning your presentation
During your presentation, ask colleagues and friends to take notes on your audience’s feedback (i.e., audience reactions, audience questions, audience body language)
After your presentation, seek feedback with audience physical evaluation forms, online forms, and conversing with your audience
“If I went back to college again, I’d concentrate on two areas: learning to write and to speak before an audience. Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.” – Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States
DiBartolomeo Consulting International’s (DCI) mission is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence.
Contact DCI at
Office – (703) 815-1324
Cell/Text – (703) 509-4424