After your presentation, which way would you choose to identify your weakness and improve your presentation?
1) reviewing the recording on your own;
2) inviting your colleagues or classmates to make suggestions for improvement.
Public speaking terrifies most people, but it’s an important skill. If you gave a presentation and wanted to know how you could do better, you could watch a video of your presentation or you could ask for advice from people who watched your presentation. Both options are good ideas, but I think it’s more important to talk with people who saw your speech.
First, it’s important to hear the opinions of other people because a presentation isn’t for you, it’s for the audience. It won’t do you any good to watch the video of your own presentation because your ideas already make sense to you. If you want to improve, it’s necessary that you ask other people what they understood and what they didn’t understand from your presentation. Therefore, it’s necessary to talk to the people who watched your presentation so you can learn how to become a better public speaker.
Once you understand the problem and begin trying to fix it, many brains are better than one. Asking other people for advice will give you a wider variety of solutions because you’ll be getting advice from a wider variety of perspectives. They’ll be able to give you fresh ideas that you never would have thought of even if you re-watched your presentation a hundred times. People often get stuck in one way of thinking about something, and this can cause you to miss some obvious solutions. For any situation like this where you’re trying to improve something, it’s best to work together with other people and other perspectives.
Finally, it’s a good idea to talk to other people about improving your presentation simply because learning how to take criticism from other people is a valuable life skill. Once you enter the workforce, you’re almost always working on teams. It hurts the team if someone gets angry over criticism, because then the team can’t talk openly about the best ways to improve their work. If you learn to accept criticism, then you’ll be a better team member and you’ll experience more career success. People will also like you more in general because you can listen to their ideas without taking it personally, so you’ll have a healthier social life. Listening to other people’s ideas on how to improve your presentation would be a great opportunity to practice accepting criticism.
In short, there are lots of good ways to improve your public speaking skills. However, if I had to focus on one best way, it would be to ask for advice from people who saw my presentation. They would notice problems I didn’t see, they would offer solutions that I would never think of, and accepting people’s criticism would be good practice.
To improve my performance after giving a presentation, it is best to review a recording of it by myself. This process lets me observe all aspects of the presentation, evaluate changes at my own pace, and avoid being defensive.
First, a video recording gives significantly more information than just relying on comments made by colleagues or classmates. I can analyze and improve on even small points that others may not have noticed or found worth mentioning. For example, a couple years ago, I gave a presentation that I had extensively prepared for. It had strong organization and flow. Classmates raved about the content, but mentioned that I looked scared. I was confused, because I had felt confident. However, I noticed in the video later that I was continually fingering my notes. For my next presentation, I placed the notes within view but did not hold them, rendering my appearance more professional.
Another reason I prefer watching a recording is my pace of learning. I can focus on the points I want to redo, replaying the material as often as I want, confirming even tiny details. In fact, I can even take long breaks to think about what I see or to try out alternate delivery styles. I do not have to inconvenience my friends by asking them for feedback or taking up their time. If others are involved in the evaluation process, I feel much more rushed because I do not want to bother people who have agreed to help me.
Finally, reviewing a recording by myself eliminates a serious problem that hinders progress: my pride. I do not like to admit it, but I often get defensive about feedback and want to explain why certain things happened. I feel resentful about negative comments rather than see them as stepping stones towards improvement. It is a natural tendency, but it definitely hinders my ability to assimilate outside feedback. Furthermore, friends try to be polite, so they may not mention minorpoints that I might have improved because they don’t want to seem too critical. Emotions get in the way of a thorough critique.
To improve my future performance, I find it best to review videos of my presentations by myself. I can evaluate all aspects of the presentation, take as much time as I need, and avoid the inevitable problem of emotional involvement swaying the critique.
It is essential to get the feedback of people in the audience to learn about mistakes and improve on a presentation. Spectator critiques help identify the big picture and reveal points that you can’tsee in an honest, unbiased way.
No matter how impartial you want to be, a self-evaluation is biased. It incorporates points that are not relevant to the performance you gave. For example, you may think you did excellent given your limited practice time or great amount of stress, but your audience is unaware of these factors. The viewers only evaluate what they see, which is a far more accurate measure of a presentation. A self-evaluation may also ignore issues that were “just accidents.” However, such points may reallybe important detractors that need to be addressed.
People in the audience also provide insight into the big picture. They only have time to note specific glaring details or outstanding highlights. Otherwise, their feedback gives you the overallimpression of the performance, which is something intangible and essential to the presentation’ssuccess. If you compare the feedback of several observers, you can isolate the main patterns. As a result, you can understand the most important parts that need changed. If you only refer to a video on your own, you may get caught up changing minor details rather than addressing the key elements that are needed to alter the overall flow or lasting effect.
Finally, classmates or colleagues may identify things you take for granted such as mannerisms, repeated words, or even problems with visual aids. One example is a teacher who gave a presentation using an old slide projector that kept jamming. The teacher apologized when that happened and kept going with the lecture. He had no idea how distracting it was, to the point that students remembered joking about which slide would get stuck next better than they remembered the content. The teacher, however, was so used to fixing the projector that he barely noticed it. The feedback showed him the value of replacing his visual aids with newer equipment, an issue he had never considered was important.
Since an audience gives you honest evaluations of the overall impression of a presentation and identifies points you may not see on your own, it is important to get feedback from people in the audience in order to improve your presentations.