When you’ve spent time developing a presentation whether it’s a thirty-minute talk or a three-hour event, you don’t want to be doing double duty: giving your talk and assessing how well it’s going at the same time.
It’s best to enjoy giving your presentation and interacting with your audience. Throw yourself into the moment.
When it’s over and you’ve answered people’s questions or gotten their names and phone numbers to call and set up an appointment to work with them, it’s time to gather your things. Most likely you’re beat!
But wait. I bet you have questions swirling around in your mind!
Did they get it?
Were you funny enough?
Did you give them enough?
Did you overwhelm them with too much information?
What might you do better next time?
Here’s where a helper comes in
Imagine you had an assistant, friend or colleague in the audience. Per your request she’s been busy taking notes for you all during the presentation. She was paying attention to things like this:
• What jokes or stories got the best laughs?
• What quotes got the most nods of agreement?
• What parts of the talk seemed rushed?
• What questions did people ask?
• Did your outfit work on stage?
• Did you use too much slang?
• Were your opening and closing both strong?
• Were there any areas that got dull or lagged?
• Did the props work?
Preparing and delivering presentations and workshops got so much easier for me once I asked someone to be in the audience noting what worked and what didn’t. It relieved a lot of pressure. I wasn’t as worn out afterward because I knew someone was going to help me learn from the experience without me having to try to recall what I thought happened. You can’t be in two places at one time: presenting and assessing.
One thing that helped a lot was giving my feedback person the time table of each section of my talk. She’d write in the margins what time it was when I got to each section. If I knew I had to make adjustments, I didn’t worry about it. I knew she was tracking the timing so if I needed to make adjustments next time I’d know right where I needed to do it.
If the audience members asked questions that weren’t covered in my talk, she helped me decide if I should include content on those topics next time, or maybe the questions covered more than I could handle. She could help me decide what could go into a followup presentation that I could offer.
Try to go over the notes as soon as possible
I like going over her notes with her either right after the presentation or as soon as possible, definitely within 24 hours at the most.
You can use this same technique with online classes, too. Again, do the feedback exchange as soon after the class as possible.
This is such a great way to support yourself. It’s a real gift.
If you’re not doing this already, I do hope you try this the next time you present.