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Self-reflection following a presentation

Self-reflection following a presentationI recently attended the Biennale of Sydney at Cockatoo Island which showcases contemporary visual arts. The whole adventure of wandering around Cockatoo Island and interacting with some of the exhibits made me view the artwork from a different perspective – some assumptions that had been made on first glance were soon replaced with 'aha' moments.

Similarly, looking at our own presentations from differing perspectives can assist each of us to become better speakers.

The importance of self-reflection following a presentation

After delivering a presentation it is easy to forget about it and move on to the next task. However to grow as a speaker it is important to reflect on what went well and what could be improved upon. This is an important practice whether you are presenting to a few people or a few hundred people.

The review process

When reviewing your presentation, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What did you do well?
  2. What could you improve upon?
  3. What would you do differently next time?

When giving a presentation each speaker gives part of themselves and so there is often an emotional response to the presentation. For some, this can be an intense response; for others it can be a mild one.

This emotional response will have an impact on your perception of the success of the presentation. So it is important as part of the review process to be aware of the emotions that you may be feeling about the presentation.

If your experience was a good one then the euphoria (or relief) from the presentation will allow you to see it with a positive perspective. If your experience was less than desirable or even disastrous then it is easy to fall into negative self-talk mode diminishing your confidence for future presentations.

Give yourself time to review all aspects of your presentation free from any emotional connection to the presentation. We are often our own worst critics so if you are not able to recognise anything positive about your presentation allow the emotional connection to pass before you begin the self-review.

An additional question to consider

As part of the review process, also consider this additional question:

If you were sitting in the audience, what impression would you have had of the presentation?

By placing yourself in the audience you are able to see your presentation from a different perspective.

What next?

Once you have completed your self-reflection it is important to then note your findings and use them when preparing your next presentation.

Self-reflection is one method that you can use to evaluate your presentation. It is an essential component of the evaluation process enabling you to work on specific areas that you would like to improve and to also build upon your current strengths as a speaker.

Do you undertake a self-reflection process following a presentation?

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Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
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