Every time I call home after a presentation I get the question.
I have always kept a checklist in my mind that I use to evaluate how well my speech went. There is so much going through my head as I descend from the platform and my mind is swimming with answers to these questions:
- Did I assume command of the platform with confidence?
- Did I connect with my audience and hold every eye on me throughout the presentation?
- When I invited interaction, did they respond appropriately?
- Did they laugh at all my jokes?
- Did all of the audio and video elements work properly?
- Was my voice loud, clear, and strong throughout?
- At the end, did I get a standing ovation?
Last Tuesday morning in Philadelphia, I gave the opening keynote address on Day 1 of the 14th Employment Supports Symposium, sponsored by Networks for Training and Development, Inc.
- I took the stage with confidence. I hit the ramp full speed after the introduction and I started with my planned first line. Not “small talk” like “how’s everybody doing?”
- I connected with my audience and I held every eye except for “that one guy” who insisted on carrying on a conversation with his neighbor. (There’s always “that one guy” in every audience who whispers to his neighbor while waving his hands frantically in gestures, making sure that his mission to distract you is most effective!)
- They were eager participants in all of the interaction elements.
- They appreciated and responded well to the humor in my presentation. They pretty much laughed on cue.
- Despite a dry run the evening before, there was a technical snafu with the PowerPoint presentation at the beginning, but I overcame that and proceeded smoothly.
- My voice quality was just okay. Maybe because of jet lag, or maybe because I’m getting old, I didn’t have the energy to blast out the booming bass that I’m capable of but it was okay.
- At the end, I received a standing ovation.
Immediately after the talk, I thought I did “okay.” I gave it a B.
Then, this morning I received this email from Shauna Roman, Executive Director of “Networks.”Good morning Greg, It was a pleasure to meet you in person, and to have you join us for the 14th Employment Supports Symposium! This year’s event sparked such creativity and engagement, and your keynote delivery and breakout session facilitation were a large part of that. I consider “unsolicited feedback” the best kind of feedback, and I could not count the number of attendees who approached me with positive comments about you! Thanks, Greg, for being such a valuable part of our conference this year, and I wish you all the best in your life’s endeavors. Sincerely, Shauna
(And this is what really fired me up:)P.S. At the beginning of Day 2 of the conference, I did an informal welcome to the large group over breakfast. I gave them a “pop quiz”, asking them if they could recall the charge that you left us with, the day before. Immediately, people shouted out “BIG DREAMS! SELF DEF! NO QUIT!”, followed by a loud applause. So, your message came through loud and clear – - and it stuck.
After reading that email, I now realize the most important questions in evaluating a speech may be:
- Did they listen to your message?
- Will they remember what you had to say?
I’m changing my grade from a B to an A+. And I’m shooting for “straight A’s” from now on!