How feedback helps you become a better speaker

Every talk you give can help you become better. You’ll most likely just hear positive feedback, because it’s let’s face it, it’s a bit weird to hear strangers give negative feedback when they’ve only hear you speak once.

It is better to just get positive feedback or to get positive and negative? It all depends on speaking experience and what sort of feedback is wanted. Meaningful feedback that includes details I find is always wanted so that the speaker knows exactly what they did well on and what needs work.

Should a speaker give themselves feedback? Yes, because then you can know what you covered in your time, what you felt needed work and what you did well on. Once you have that written down you can stop thinking about your own feedback and start reflecting on all the feedback given.

What you do with the feedback depends on you. You could collect it, trash it, then forget about it as soon as you get it. You could collect it, review it once, then never look at it again. You could also collect as much detail on the feedback as you can, review it multiple times, and use it to improve your next talk.

If you collect that feedback, how do you respond to it? You don’t need to directly respond to the person who gave you the feedback, you need to think about what and how you are going to change your next talk. It can get frustrating when you are trying to get better and it’s taking much longer than you expect or you don’t notice any change. The feedback can help you notice if any changes happen. Speaking isn’t just done in prepared, long talks. It can be done talking to some colleagues, at a meetup, or even explaining it to someone who isn’t normally in that space. There is the saying that the more often you do something, the better you get at it.

What happens if the feedback you get isn’t the feedback you want, or is negative? The first thing to remember is that it’s someone opinion, it’s not everyone’s opinion. If you need to step away after getting that feedback then it’s ok to do so, however, please don’t be mean to the person who gave you that negative feedback. After collecting it, take a moment to review it and try to see why that person thought that way. Was it because you didn’t give enough detail, or they didn’t think you hit the purpose of the talk? Take the time to incorporate some of that feedback into your next talk.

How’s feedback different if you present online versus in-person? When you present online the space in which you see someone is smaller and therefore the feedback is more limited visually to anything above your shoulders unless the speaker is standing up. The huge advantage of presenting in-person is that more space can be used, your entire body and the space of the speaking floor can be used. Does this mean you should always present in-person? I don’t think so, however when you present online you should take advantage of what online provides and remember you have a much smaller space to work with.

Does feedback help? Yes it does, it helps to see other perspective’s, to see what your audience thought because as a speaker you only see one side. It has really helped me to get feedback, to know what I have to work on, and what I do really well on. Without honest feedback I never would have improved as a speaker.

This is post number 92 as part of 100 Days To Offload.


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