::Phew:: It’s over! You did it. Speech = delivered. So, now what?
As I have mentioned before, we are often in the position in which we do not have much continuity of our speeches moving forward. That does not mean that you should not make an effort to collect feedback or learn from the experience. Here are some steps to take for getting the most out of each opportunity. If you are working on some public speaking and have yet to plan, write, or deliver the speech check out the rest of this series here.
If a Q+A is appropriate, you should absolutely host one. It is a great way for you to connect more deeply with your audience and flex your expertise a bit more deeply. But even if you do, let everyone know that you will be sticking around afterward, and leave yourself time to actually do that. Connecting 1:1 is an amazing way to build an audience, create a connection, serve someone deeply, or just do a good deed for the day. Those small meetings afterward are often reserved for questions and conversations that people were hesitant to have publicly, and people will really appreciate that you gave more of your time.
Before reading what they say, capture your own thoughts.
It is easy to think that the only opinion that matter is that of the audience, but I would disagree. Do you feel like you truly delivered the value that you hoped to? Was your message clear? Did you like the ad-libbed joke you added? Just give yourself an honest assessment of how it went. Perhaps, more importantly, did you enjoy the act of public speaking? Something often missing from articles like this is an honest assessment of whether or not public speaking is really prime real estate for you to communicate your message, or if it’s an opportunity that you didn’t want to turn down.
Create an easy method for giving feedback
This should be coordinated with the event organizers ahead of time. Do you want to leave a physical comment card for people to fill before they leave? Pro, more people will participate. Con, its up to you to do the data entry. Or can you send out a link to all participants with a quick survey? Pro, way less work. Con, participation rates lower. In my experience, less than 10% despite a proactive call out and follow up email after the fact. It’s an easy thing for people to skip. Regardless, pick your poison and give people an avenue to help you get better. Again, this is a step too easy to skip.
Get feedback from the event
Ask the organizers, especially people who were there, what they thought. Would you invite me back? Was it what you expected based on our conversations? Your relationships with the event and its organizers and your relationship with the audience are two different things, and it is important to learn about how other people experienced you as a professional to work with. This is a great moment to awaken any blind spots.
Make yourself a 1-Pager
Assuming that you did not hate public speaking (which, by the way, is 1000% fine if you do), take all of this feedback and make a 1-pager about the talk that you just did. Give a summary of its content, add a few quotes from your interactions, and capture you’re intent. When you put it all together, this document can reflect BACK to you what you are capable of and why you worked so hard to make this right. AND, should someone ask you to speak in the future, you have a readily available, easy to digest document to help people understand why you are awesome. That is always a good tool to have.
And now, sadly, we are at the end of this five part series. I hope that, within all of these words, you have found the guidance and the confidence to attack your next speaking engagement with a plan of attack. I’ll be rooting for you. If you’re feeling up to it, shoot me a note and let me know how it went! I always love to hear from people who put these ideas into practice.