Your Presentation is Done. Now What?
“When presenting a speech, don’t think about how the audience will look at you. Think about what value you can give them.” -Radha Tailor
You’re done with your presentation and it went very well. It’s time to kick back and enjoy yourself? WRONG! There is a whole lot of more work to do after your presentation.
This article will review three of the most important tasks after your presentation: (1) obtain, review, and apply audience evaluations to your next presentation, (2) follow-up with the meeting planner, and (3) network with your audience
Obtain, Review, and Apply Audience Evaluations
As a speaker whether you speak for a living or for your job, you need to improve your speaking ability to convince people and organizations to have you back to speak. If you are a professional speaker, you want the meeting planner to refer you to other people and organizations that can use your services. If you are an employee, you want to improve your speaking ability to advance your stature and career in your organization.
If you are a professional speaker, ensure you put a previously prepared presentation evaluation sheet on each seat before your presentation. During your presentation, ask your audience to fill out the evaluation as you are presenting.
This serves two purposes. Number one – you will get better evaluations, because your audience’s members will spend more time on the evaluation of your presentation. Number two – it shows your audience you are continually improving your presentation skills.
Now why is this important? It is important because a good number of audience members will respect that and will be encouraged to attend another of your speaking events and also encourage their friends who are not there to attend because they know you will be a better speaker at the next event.
If you are an employee, you still need to seek out evaluations of your presentations. It is one of the major ways you can improve your speaking. Remember, speaking is audience-focused, not speaker focused. The only way you will know how the audience received your presentation is to ask them. Call them, text them, or e-mail them, but get with them.
Ken Blanchard of “One-Minute Manager” fame says, “Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” Fight for feedback. It is the fastest way for you to improve your speaking ability.
Audience feedback is essential to improving your speaking ability. So is following up with the meeting planner.
Follow-Up with the Meeting Planner
If you are a professional speaker, you may think your audience is your customer. Although, the audience must be satisfied with your presentation, they are not your most important customer. You still have to “wow them,” but your real customer is the meeting planner. Satisfying and following up with the meeting planner is key because, on average, it takes seven times the effort to secure a new customer as it takes to secure a repeat customer. So, from a return on investment of your time standpoint, it is an efficient way to get more business.
Now, a large part of satisfying the meeting planner is to satisfy the audience to be sure. But it goes much further than that. Your ability to be extremely cooperative with the meeting planner is essential to you be invited back to speak. If you are a professional speaker, this equates to increased revenue. Never leave money on the table. Suggest your other programs to the meeting planner. If the meeting planner cannot use one of your other programs, he or she will know someone who can.
Some examples of being cooperative with the meeting planner are to offer to help set up the room prior to your presentation, help move equipment and material from his or her car to the event location, and offering to meet with the organization’s managers. This personalization with the organization’s managers will help the meeting planner because he or she will look good in the eyes of the managers. You also benefit because the more people you know in the organization, the more likely you will be asked to return to speak.
No doubt, you could add to this list of benefits of following up with the meeting planner. Remember, the meeting planner is your most important customer.
So, we have discussed the importance of obtaining, reviewing, and applying your audience members’ evaluations and the importance of following up with the meeting planner. Finally, we will talk about the importance of networking with your audience.
Network with Your Audience
You have all heard about networking. The more people you know and the more people know about and think about you positively, the more advancement you will enjoy if you are an employee, and, if you are a professional speaker, the more business you will enjoy.
Here are three things I have learned about networking in my 40-year military and civilian contractor career:
1. Networking is important even when you don’t need something from the other person. Why do you think this is so? Harvey Mackay, the author of “Swim with the Sharks Without Getting Eaten Alive” wrote another book entitled, Dig Your Well Before You Are Thirsty.” The point of the second book is the deeper your relationship is with others, the more willing they will be to help you. Another favorite author, Zig Ziglar said, “You can get anything you want out of life if you help enough other people get what they want out of life.” It’s true!
2. When you network, offer to help first and ask for a favor second. Better yet, offer to help and don’t ask for a favor. Remember above what Zig Ziglar said. There is magic in helping others. The most important benefit is you will feel better about yourself if you do.
The second benefit is the Law of Reciprocity. When you help someone else, they will instantly have a need to help you. Let me be clear. You are not helping others because you expect something in return. In fact, the return favor may come from a different person. That’s the way it works.
3. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, we all have the same basic need to connect with our fellow human beings. This need has been with us since the dawn of human existence. Networking is all about connecting with others. With the advent of the personal computer and social media, we have both connected with more people and disconnected with more people.
You say, “How can this be true?” Before personal computers and social media came along, how did we connect? We wrote letters long hand on paper. We met others at social events. We talked on the phone. That was about it. Computers and social media have truly opened the world to others.
But what have we given up? A significant connection with people was our body language, our handshake, and hugs if you are close to the people. As much as I love the appearance of computers and social media, we have given up something. I recommend a mixture of social media and face-to-face meetings.
Hopefully, you realize by now the great value in (1) obtaining, reviewing, and applying audience evaluations, (2) following up with the meeting planner, and (3) networking with your audience as three of the most important tasks after your presentation is completed.
“There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.” – Alexander Gregg
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.
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