Why you should solicit feedback from your audience

If you want to achieve good performance, you should carry out regular quality controls. It’s no different with presentations. It is important to learn how your presentation was received by the audience. Only in this way can you uncover and eliminate weaknesses. In the blog post, I want to show you why feedback from your audience is so important and useful, and how to get such feedback.

Once you have presented your slide presentation to an audience, you may feel a sense of relief and the tension will fall away from you. Presumably, your experience and gut instinct will tell you if you did well or if parts of the presentation did not go optimally. Your audience will also usually give you useful feedback. If the applause is polite but restrained and the audience leaves the room briskly, you may not have made the best impression. If your audience applauds for a long time, prospects come to you with more questions, and the handout of your presentation is in high demand, your performance has obviously been convincing.

As a rule, however, one’s own perception is not objective, and misconceptions quickly creep in, negatively affecting one’s quality as a speaker. Self-perception and perception by others can sometimes differ greatly. There are presenters who are so brimming with self-confidence that they fail to notice their own shortcomings. They think their PowerPoint presentation and speaking skills are so great and overlook the fact that their audience is bored or annoyed. After the event they are very satisfied with themselves and do not dream of improving their performance.

On the other hand, there are the insecure speakers who die a thousand deaths every time they perform. After their presentation, they are completely dissatisfied with themselves, including their clothes, voice, slides, gestures and hairstyle, even though the auditorium had a much more positive opinion of the performance.Even though I believe that you can trust your gut feeling, there is always the danger that you can be completely wrong. In addition, you need some more concrete information about where your own performance is good and where there is still room for improvement.

If you want to continuously improve the quality of your presentations and fix mistakes, you need concrete information from your audience. Get direct feedback.

Feedback via Q&A session

Depending on how large your auditorium is, you can, for example, ask the audience directly after the presentation how they liked it. What did they like and what would they improve? With small groups, the appropriate topic, and sufficient self-awareness, this direct form of feedback can yield good insights. If there is not enough time immediately after the presentation, you could also call the participants a few days later and ask for the feedback by phone. Of course, you should only do this if there is at least a remote relationship with your audience (e.g., a business contact).

Feedback via feedback sheet

Another way to get feedback on a regular basis is to use a feedback sheet. On this questionnaire, you can ask about certain aspects of your performance and have them rated on a scale from “very good” to “poor”. For example, they might ask if the slides were understandable, if the information was helpful, or if you were clear. You can either distribute this questionnaire after the end of your presentation or send it by e-mail. Even though not everyone should respond, this will give you a good overview after a few performances of what area of your presentation resonates with the audience and where you may need to rework. Templates for a feedback sheet can be found in great variety on the Internet. You can also just take these as suggestions and design your own questionnaire. In any case, this will give you a better overview of the current status of your efforts to convince your audience with a top presentation.

Dipl.-Wirtsch.-Informatiker Matthias Garten as the expert for multimedia presentations and professional PowerPoint presentations knows about the art of professional slide design. He is an entrepreneur, speaker (TOP 100 Speaker), trainer (TOP 100 Excellence Trainer), multiple book author, presentation coach (presentation training), member of the GSA and Club 55, organizer of the Presentation Conference, Presentation Bootcamp and Presentation Rocket Day. In addition to PowerPoint and presentation training, he inspires and advises companies to present themselves even more effectively and thus stand out from competitors. He is the business owner of the presentation and PowerPoint agency smavicon Best Business Presentations and with his team has created over 15,000 professional PowerPoint presentations for over 150 industries since 1993.