Feedback Improves Communication
If we are speaking in public one of the things that can be really daunting is to not only hear ourselves speak but to also see ourselves as others see us.
It is always helpful to get feedback on our performance after we have presented a speech, a pitch, workshop, seminar or facilitation. It enables us to monitor our performance and improve it in the future. That is why it’s essential to at least have some form of feedback sheet or someone who can provide unbiased feedback on our performance afterwards.
Effective feedback confirms what is working well for us and identifies those areas where we can improve.
That feedback can be enhanced by having some coaching based around our presentation. The coaching shows where improvements can be made and how to achieve them. The ability to then practice those suggestions not only reinforces them in our mind but gives us confidence to put the suggestions into practice in the future. We can feel ourselves improve; that is a real incentive to learn and apply the suggestions.
One of the most powerful aides to improving performance is the use of video recording. The real power of video is that it shows us as we are. By casting a critical eye over our presentation we can see the areas that require our attention. Seeing is believing.
By adding a coach or mentor to help us we then have a powerful mix. The coach can suggest the improvements and monitor our revised performance to ensure that the improvement is actually achieved. And we can see the results for ourselves.
There can be an added benefit to having a permanent copy of the video recording on a computer file or DVD. After a course to a firm of chartered accountants one of them said that she had to do a presentation quite some time later. She went back to the coaching video and it reinforced the things she needed to address when making her presentation. It was a part of her preparation that materially assisted her to give a fine presentation that really hit the mark.
So if we are to make increasingly more effective presentations we need to get good feedback as we present. That way we can continue to improve our communication skills for the benefit of our audiences.
Dynamic Communication has run public speaking training courses for the past ten years to corporate, tertiary and NGOs using a 16 hour modular program that incorporates effective feedback techniques. It also offers mentoring and personal coaching services in the public speaking area.
Christchurch Press 15th March 2009