Do you look at your webinar feedback results? Do you REALLY look at them? Do you read individual comments and use them to refine your techniques?
This introspective topic is spurred by feedback I received last week after presenting on a public webinar as a guest speaker. My hosts shared the feedback comments with me at my request. If you act as a presenter on a webinar, you should ask for your survey as well.
It was gratifying to see numerous positive comments about my presentation technique and hear that people found the content valuable. Don’t overlook those… I find it easy to gloss over the good stuff and go searching for criticisms, which remain in my mind disproportionally. Positive reinforcement is a good thing… Part of your technique refinement is learning what to keep doing because it goes over well!
But then I read two comments that surprised me:
One person said they felt the learning points could have been presented more quickly and compactly or that I could have introduced more material in the allotted time. Another person said that my “nervous laughter” became distracting.
Now, both of those statements fly in the face of my self perception. I actually worried that I was racing through slides and topic points at a pace that might be too fast for some attendees in an attempt to cover a lot of value within a short time. And honestly, the last time I felt nervous speaking on a webinar was back in 2001. I thought my laughter was pleasant and engaging!
So are those two commenters wrong? No, not at all. They told me the way they perceived the presentation. And as the title of this post says, their perception is their reality. It doesn’t matter if I can rationalize the way I did things. They told me the truth, with specifics. If that is the way it came across to them, there is a good chance that others perceived it the same way but did not write it out.
Am I going to instantly change my style? Not dramatically. A single comment by a single person is not a mandate for emergency change. But I’m going to be focusing my concentration and awareness on those areas. I may include some specific questions in feedback surveys asking about such things as “Amount of content” and “Speaker comfort and confidence.”
I’m going to ask my hosts/moderators to tell me what they thought as well (although hosts are usually overeager to reassure and compliment guest speakers). And I welcome and encourage your comments on this post if you are willing to share your perception from a recent webinar of mine.
The goal is to see if the same perception is shared by others. If so, I need to adjust my performance style to create a different perception and a different reality for my audience. What I think I’m doing is interesting to me. But what you think I’m doing is what matters.
Think about it after your next presentation!