It doesn’t take a psychologist to realize that most people resist and fear criticism. This makes sense. It’s not easy to hear that the great class, lecture, or presentation that you worked so hard on wasn’t perfect (or perhaps majorly flawed). However, if you are truly committed to becoming a better public speaker, you not only have to learn how to accept feedback, but you must also learn to embrace it. In fact, you may even have to actively seek it out criticism.
After my first year and a half of teaching business English classes, I had designed and implemented two full courses for intermediate and advanced students. When asked, my students would always tell me that they were satisfied with my courses. However, in the spirit of merging business and teaching, I wanted more detailed, quantitative feedback.
Of course, my company had a feedback system in place, but it didn’t pose the questions that I needed to ask. Since I was teaching courses of my design, I realized that I needed to create and administer a survey of my design as well. Due to sample size limitations and biases due to the closely knit nature of the courses, I’ll be the first to admit that my survey wasn’t the most accurate. The important thing is that it gave me a general idea of what was working well and what might need improving. Click here to see an excerpt from this survey (the second page is most relevant to this post).
So, if you haven’t done so already, make sure to implement a feedback system into whatever kind of presentations or teaching that you are doing. Most importantly, don’t forget to act upon the useful criticism that you receive. Heed this advice, and I guarantee that your public speaking endeavors will improve faster than ever before.