Kaizen, Japanese for “good improvement,” became a popular word in Japanese business as the country developed after World War II. As the phrase spread throughout the international business scene, it grew into a business philosophy, loosely translated as “continuous improvement.” Perhaps its most famous application is in the Toyota Production System.
In the spirit of The Business of Teaching, it is important to apply kaizen to your presentations. Just because a presentation went well, doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. After every class, lecture, or seminar, take some time to reflect, and consider how to improve. Did the audience struggle to understand parts of your presentation? Did you have enough time to cover all of your material comfortably? Were you able to accomplish all of your objectives? What can you do better next time?
Even if there weren’t any obvious difficulties in your most recent presentation, you can always try new ways to deliver information more smoothly, effectively, and efficiently. If you aren’t planning to do the same presentation again, focus on things that remain constant despite the content of your presentation (delivery, body language, audience engagement, etc.). After all, there’s always room for kaizen.