The Power of Feedback

Whether you’re a seasoned speaker, talented trainer or busy event planner, feedback should be on your radar. If you’re the one stepping in front of the audience or alternatively hiring talent for next year’s conference, being open to feedback and using it to propel your events and make them better for the next time is crucial. 

The thing about feedback is, not all feedback is useful or applied correctly. So how can we sift through the piles of useless comments and get to the core of what your audience wants to see and hear?  

What does feedback even mean? 

Feedback can be a very powerful tool but often goes ignored. We are creatures of habit, what seems to work well we will continue to do, until we are told otherwise. Growing and evolving as a speaker, trainer, or HR professional is important, and feedback helps with that! You may be thinking “but I plan the events, how can feedback help me?” or “I don’t step on stage, so why should I care about the feedback?”. Even if you’re not the one delivering the information we can all use feedback to improve, such as hiring better talent, or pinpointing where training materials can be improved. This gives an overall confidence boost in your delivery and content! 

If you’re still unsure of how you feel about feedback here are a few examples of how it can help:

  • Provides better direction on aspects of training programs that may not be as effective 
  • Improve training and become more effective within the organization
  • Staff morale can increase if they feel they are finally being heard 
  • Increase in self-awareness and personal growth 

Now, these are all great reasons why we should place more emphasis on feedback, but with anything, there are definitely limitations to collecting feedback, especially feedback that’s useful and honest.

Limitations to Getting Feedback

If you’ve ever asked for feedback and felt like you’re not getting an honest opinion you’re not alone. Honest feedback can be hard to come by these days. According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, employees do not feel free to say how they actually feel, leaving employers and businesses missing out on key insights. 

When it comes to employee/employer relationships there are a number of factors contributing to the lack of honest feedback being communicated: 

  1. Lack of value – feeling that their ideas aren’t as valuable as they may be 
  2. Fear of consequences – no one wants hurt feelings, risk of being penalized if they are honest
  3. The risk of being wrong –  public humiliation
  4. Embarrassment – is it a ‘stupid’ question?, are they the only one confused? 

Although this example highlights obstacles between management and employees in the workplace, the lack of honest feedback can occur in any relationship such as the ones we have with colleagues, classmates or even friends. As the receiver of feedback we are faced with the reality that we may not be coming across as positively as we believe. We have to be open to receiving feedback in order to reap the benefits, and that’s definitely a skill many of us have yet to acquire.    

Navigating negative feedback

All types of public speaking require skills and practice to perfect. Whether it be making a presentation in front of colleagues, leading a training seminar or running an interview, it’s important to openly receive and accept feedback. Feedback not only allows you to master your skills, but lets your audience know that you value their input. 

Obviously, positive feedback is nicer to hear and easier to accept, but negative feedback can offer us very valuable insights as to what your audience is really thinking. When hearing negative feedback we can easily become defensive, self-conscious or even threatened (HBR), but keep in mind the following tips to make better use of the feedback you receive. 

Enhance your feedback strategy

Now that we know how valuable feedback can be, how do we collect it? Rather than hosting a long Q&A period, sending out a survey, or asking for live feedback that interrupts your presentation, wouldn’t you prefer an easy to use tool? Enter Presentii, a feedback tool that does the heavy lifting for you. 

Presentii collects real-time interest and comments, pairing it with a voice recording of your entire presentation. Once your presentation is complete you will have a summarized chat along with your voice recording to understand and easily review how the presentation was received by your audience, leaving you to focus on your presentation or training session. One of the best parts about Presentii is the anonymity of user feedback. Your audience can feel comfortable and confident to speak their mind, without the negative associations we might feel if we had to voice our opinions in front of the entire group.  

So if you’re tired of being left in the dark, constantly wondering what your audience is thinking, try using the tips mentioned and put together a feedback strategy incorporating the easy to use Presentii app.