In public speaking, listening and implementing feedback is the most efficient way to progress. It can help propel you to the next level.
First you need to recruit a tribe who can give you honest valuable feedback:
Once you have found your feedback tribe, what next?
1. Shut down your ego
Growth happens when you are open to hearing new perspectives. If your ego takes all the space, there will be no space for growth.
2. Accept your tribe’s feedback like a present
Your tribe gives you their personal perspective on how they experienced your speech. Take their feedback like a true gift. This is how they felt and understood from your presentation. Their reaction was genuine. So treat their feedback with respect.
3. Don’t get defensive
If you feel the need to argue on a point of feedback you received...stop - breathe – stay quiet.
Your tribe is telling you to rework your presentation for a reason. It does not matter if you worked hard, if the examples you found are great, or if your mother liked it. Your audience did not get your point. Concentrate on their needs, not how long you have spent working on it. Ultimately, it is your fault they did not get your message, not theirs.
Once you end your speech, the words are out and you cannot take them back. Arguing with your feedback tribe on how they felt about your speech is like feeding guests a burnt meal and telling them that they cannot find it horrible because you spent a lot of time cooking and they should find it delicious. It comes down to understanding that your speech is for the audience, not for yourself. As a speaker, you are only on stage to serve.
4. Be selective
Feedback such as “that was great” or “it was the worst thing I ever heard” are equally useless. There is nothing specific, hence it will not take you to the next level. From a technical perspective, you can ignore entirely those comments – even if one feels extremely good. On occasion, you can ask your tribe to explain. What exactly was great? What exactly made it terrible? In this way, initially useless feedback can serve a purpose. But be careful not to alienate your tribe by being too pushy. Sometimes, remaining silent and smiling is the best option.
Valuable feedback contains specific information with actual description of a precise attribute and its consequences:
“ You started every single sentence with ..”so”..this filler word distracted me from the content and the message of your speech..”
“ You kept going backward and forward on stage, you made me sea sick and I could not listen to you after 3 minutes”
“ Your speech content was very entertaining, filled with great stories, however I missed your point and what you wanted us to do at the end..”
Every piece of criticism we receive contains water, sand and gold.
Let the extreme nonspecific feedback wash off you like water.
Deal emotionally with the sand -> the feedback that itches you emotionally.
Find the golden nuggets -> the feedback that takes you to the next level.
Feedback is a piece of information. Your attitude towards it can transform sand into golden nuggets. It’s up to you to filter it and find where the treasure is.