Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Did I Wow 'em or Wound 'em?

Effective public speakers come in all sizes and shapes, both genders, and focus on a wide range of issues. What they all have in common is this: they learn from their speaking experiences. They realize that we are our own best fans and worst critics.

It's natural to do a quick self-assessment after we speak. We all do it. It's been said that our best speeches are given to ourselves in the minutes after we sit down. Unfortunately, our reflections on the speech we have just given can lead to agonizing endlessly about our mistakes instead of learning from the experience and moving on. Far better to have a structured approach to evaluating our performance against our aims.

The key to self-improvement is comparing what we did (performance) with what we intended to do (aims) and deciding what we'll do differently next time.

Learning Activity

After each presentation, assess your preparation and performance using the questions below. The assessment should be done soon after the speech and should be a thoughtful analysis of what actually happened. The purpose is to develop the habit of improving your performance by careful analysis of past experiences.

What was the purpose of my speech?

What was the thesis (big idea)?

What went well in the speech?

What did not go well?

What pointed feedback did I receive from others?

What will I do differently next time to be more successful? (List specific steps.) 

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