October 13, 2006

Do you evaluate yourself?



I attended a teleclass yesterday. I was a little late getting on the line, due to some phone problems, but I was only delayed a minute or two. The class had already begun, and the speaker already had the bridge line in "lecture mode," which means that no one but the speaker can participate until the speaker releases the line back to the group. I don't know if there were introductions before I joined.

This class was scheduled to be an hour long, and the speaker spoke for 40 minutes straight before asking for questions. I could tell she was reading from a script. Remember, this was a teleclass. The speaker spoke for 40 minutes straight on the phone.

My background is in training and education, and something that I learned early on, and strongly believe, is that participation enhances learning. Adult learners, especially, have a lifetime of experience and knowledge to share in an educational setting. This benefits not only the learners - whose brains can more easily process the information when they're given a break from lecture - but also the speaker, who can actually learn from the participants.

The point of this post is not to say that this speaker did a terrible job. She had some good information that will be useful to me. However, I was nodding off at one point because her voice became monotonous and I found myself needing some stimulation to stay awake.

One way to find out how effective my presentations are is to offer an evaluation sheet at the end. Participants can fill it out at the venue, or they can take it home and use the link to the evaluation form on my website. I find that this is a great way to determine what worked for an audience and what didn't.

Public speakers should always be working to improve. Even the best, most polished speakers have weaknesses, and there's always something new we can learn. Asking your clients to evaluate you might feel uncomfortable, but it's the best way to find out if they are truly benefiting from what you have to offer. If not, what's the point?

If someone doesn't offer me an evaluation at the end of their workshop, I feel uncomfortable offering up my opinion. I'd like to e-mail this presenter and share my experience with her. Heck, I'd even like to offer her my coaching services! But because she didn't ask for feedback, I'm not comfortable giving it.

I'd like to know how others handle this situation.

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1 comments. Please add yours! :

Wendy said...

Unfortunately, like you, I wouldn't tell her unless asked. Hopefully she had a friend or relative on the phone who will be a true friend and tell it like it is.

That reminds me of my 'club' days when we'd see someone not dressed very appropriately and we would joke around and say that the people she brought with her aren't her real friends because had they been they wouldn't have let her leave the house like that. I never would have told this person to their face and now that I am older (a whole 31 yo) and a bit wiser, I see things a bit differently. They had the confidence to leave the house like that so who am I to judge and that it's great that they are comfortable with themselves like that.

I think an evaluation sheet is a great idea and I will note this for when I become famous enough that people will want to listen to my teleseminars. :)

Thanks Lisa!

Wendy

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