Sharpening your presentation skills isn’t limited to preparing before the actual thing. You have to take a look at the results of your pitch, too.
Every idea you present will affect others in some way. After every presentation, you need to look into two types of general feedback:
- how your audience reacts as you present
- what you did to invoke those reactions.
Knowing exactly how your audience reacts will give you information on what you need to fix. Looking into these lets you sort between what your listeners like and don’t like about your performance. By gauging the quality of their feedback, you’ll know what techniques to keep and which to remove.
In fact, this method of evaluation is so crucial that companies such as Volkswagen and marketing experts like Northwestern University’s Philip Kotler (1972) highly recommend it to keep their customer relationships healthy. In his article, “A Generic Concept of Marketing”, Kotler discusses how these help gauge audience behavior and what it costs to achieve the results you want.
1. Attitude & Behavior-Related Responses
No matter how you present your ideas, they will affect your viewers in some way. Positive responses, such as smiling and nodding in agreement encourage better rapport between speaker and audience. Negative behavior, such as blank stares or people dozing off, might hurt your reputation in the long run.
As a presenter, monitoring audience behavior during and after your pitches can help identify points for improvement. For example:
- Were your slide designs relevant to your content?
- Was your information presented in an easy-to-read format?
Observing and remembering these simple reactions allow you to build your skills as you go along.
2. Costs and Efficiency:
Preparing a PowerPoint and getting the needed information costs time, sometimes even money. While it’s true that positive results matter, you also need to consider what it took to get that outcome. When evaluating this aspect, you can ask yourself things like:
- Did you spend a longer time formatting content than you should have?
- Did you have to buy any information for your presentation?
- Was there anything you could save up on or do more efficiently next time?
As with any business, costs (such as time, manpower, and money) matter especially when it comes to marketing and advertising. It’s no different when making a PowerPoint to sell your services, products, and ideas. Finding out what to save up on and what to invest in can make the difference when planning for your next pitch.
Audience feedback can sometimes be so overwhelming that you don’t know where to start. However, applying these two control skills will help you clarify what you need to improve on and how to do it.
At the end of the day, considering your audiences’ reactions can give you an edge over other presenters. Using that to improve your PowerPoint will become second nature once you realize that you deal with people, too.
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Kotler, P. (1972). A Generic Concept of Marketing. Journal of Marketing. Vol. 36, No. 2. Retrieved from: http://www.8pic.ir/images/rommbbx28bfgpry1idn.pdf