Presentation Feedback Form - How to leverage feedback in your pitch!
What is feedback?
Feedback is an opinion.
And opinions are like ear holes.
Everyone has at least two.
The beautiful thing about pitching, presenting and public speaking is its live-ness. It is a moment in time, a shared experience.
Without an audience, a pitcher is talking to themselves. Without a speaker, the audience is alone with their thoughts.
Combine the two, and unique things happen. This is why nations have won or lost at the podium, and Billions of dollars have been created when the vision of a few has been amplified.
The ability to amplify a message is raw power and strength.
All that’s required is an idea, a voice and some ears.
And because pitching is this live continuous moment, one instance does not define us. We are constantly redefining our ability to stand on a ‘stage’ and share an idea which becomes bigger than ourselves.
I live by the motto, “it’s all about the next pitch” This is what has picked me up from every single mistake and believe me, I have made them all.
Trying to memorize an 18-minute pitch word for word – total fail.
Turning up 45-minutes late to a meeting – seriously embarrassing.
Pulling an all-nighter and getting one hour of sleep before a big agency pitch – dumb.
Pitching a Swiss artist to a French client, telling the client the artist was French…and this is from an Englishman – dumber.
Kicking the power plug out of the socket and switching off the projector mid-pitch – clumsy.
FYI, Steve Jobs, the holly grail of pitching, was not error-free either. Check out his blooper reel linked at the bottom of this post.
So despite the errors, what keeps me picking myself up?
Simple, the growth I feel every time I pitch—my transformation.
And my growth and transformation are fueled by feedback.
I call public speaking a ‘high-value spotlight moment’.
The time we have an audience’s attention and a message to share is priceless.
And we often get valuable insights from others on our performance from our ‘high-value spotlight moments’.
And this feedback shows us:
What our audience heard?
What they like?
What made sense?
What they agree with?
What they found confusing?
What they remember?
When someone gives you their opinion, you must use your ears and listen with an open mind.
Feedback is fuel for your pitch
Fuel for our growth mindset.
And fuel to iterate our performance.
It’s not easy listening to feedback.
The easy thing to do is not listen and start preparing how you will answer and prove to them that they don’t get it, missed the point, and don’t see it the way you do.
Which shows that you don’t get it at all.
It shows you are not listening. You are fixed on how the world looks from your seat when the point of being in the spotlight of public speaking is to create shared ownership of an idea.
The trick with feedback is noticing it when you hear it.
Keep an open mind.
And then be ready to iterate and act.
When you use feedback as the fuel to iterate, you will improve fast because suddenly, it’s not just your head sharing ideas and inputs; it is many.
And this means many perspectives, histories, and views of the world.
But also add a pinch of salt, it is just someone’s opinion, after all. Not all feedback is created equal.
On the chin.
I remember one pitch I got these two polar opposite sets of feedback.
“That was one of the best pitches I’ve ever seen.”
“I did not like that at all. I was offended and disappointed.”
I hardly ever reflect on that favourable feedback, but I often think back to the person who didn’t like my pitch.
It is rocket fuel. It helps me see ideas from more than one place. At that time, I saw the world only through my eyes, which was like looking through a keyhole that would not allow me to grow and improve.
Feedback is not always what we want to hear, and that’s because our dear old little ego gets a bump.
Our ego is too often like a peach and gets bruised too easily. We need an ego like a potato. Tough and resilient.
How to start giving and getting feedback?
Giving feedback to yourself is the best way to start turning it into fuel to improve.
Self-reflection is a potent practice. However, you need a structure to follow. Otherwise, it too easily becomes a #WorkMonster.
Fear of failure.
All limiting beliefs prevent future growth.
Keeping a grip on the idea of ‘perfect will stop anything from happening. Being ok with our WIP self (work in progress) allows for growth.
And feedback is how we focus on what to improve.
The Presentation Feedback Form
During my postgrad in education, part of my final paper included pitching skills, and in the research, I reviewed over 20 assessment rubrics from startup accelerators and university courses.
I simplified the assessment to two areas, content and performance, with five categories and four criteria, respectively, with each category having three marks. You can see the presentation feedback form here.
In my opinion, during a pitch, what you are saying is the most important thing. There are countless examples of politicians and celebrities saying nothing but doing it very well. So start with assessing your content.
Then start to assess how you are saying it.
These two areas will improve fast after some sustained focused practice. After which, you will hit an inflexion point where you will feel a real lift.
But first, take one step back; try assessing other people’s pitches.
Thankfully youtube is full of examples of pitches at all levels. Watch a handful of startup pitches, product launches, podcast intros, and webinars and assess the speaker with the assessment.
Here are three to start with
02 (Starts at 1m 31s) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a_lu7ilpnI&list=PLLkncocNBXG4Eh4s4zkS2DaMJLI5FVP2z&index=12&t=0s
After assessing half a dozen pitches, turn a critically constructive eye on yourself, and good things will happen.
Now you have assessed yourself, take the next step and join us at PitchClub, a FREE weekly community of professionals who know pitching and public speaking are crucial for success.
Check out our LinkedIn page and signup here if you want to pitch.
Feedback is an opinion, and like earholes, we all have them. And remember, because we have earholes, we have no excuse for not listening to feedback. It is what fuels our growth mindset and personal transformation, so we are better at our next pitch.