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Get a Second Opinion


Call me stubborn… though I prefer the term independent… but I like to do things for myself.  I don’t want to depend on anyone else for anything.  I hate to ask for help which of course is ridiculous!  Even the Beatles know we all need a little help from our friends.  I’m still learning that lesson.

I took Jeff Justice’s Comedy Workshoppe – a class that takes people with varying levels of comedic talent and teaches them how to write and deliver stand up comedy.  Jeff taught us how the tools but also encouraged us to write together.  Out of character for me, this time, I took the advice to get help from others.

One woman in particular gave the pivotal idea which was the foundation of my routine.  Gianna Messina is the most amazing, undiscovered modern comedic writer of our time!  She could be the next Tina Fey – heck, some day Tina Fey could be working for Gianna!  She helped me marry the idea of management with being a kid.  I’m not comic genius, but I think my final routine turned out pretty good – you be the judge…

Great Presenters Ask for Help

Regardless of how good you are as a presenter, you can always get better if you ask for a little help from your friends.  Yes, you should record and watch yourself.  But there’s no substitute for an honest friend who can give you feedback – and better yet, make suggestions for improvement.

Practice in a Toastmasters Club Near You

Believe it or not, a Toastmasters club is a great place to try out new material.  While the level of feedback at any particular Toastmasters club may vary, getting any kind of feedback is better than no feedback at all.  Try different Toastmasters club and see which provides you and other speakers with the best feedback.  Watch how the audience reacts to your speech.  Are they laughing when you thought they’d laugh? Do they seem bored?  Engaged?  Confused?  Entertained?  Even if the formal feedback you receive is not as helpful as you may have liked, seeing how an audience responds can be extremely helpful.  Of course you have to join a club to give speeches.  But small amount you pay in dues will more than pay for itself as you have the opportunity to try your material on a friendly audience… before you take it out into the business world.

Ask for What You Want from Your Practice Audience

If there are particular parts of your presentation you want feedback on, ask for it!  Worried that you may be confusing the audience with a part of your charts and graphs?  Ask for feedback on your charts and graphs.  Worried that you’re sending the wrong message with your story?  Ask your practice audience what message they got from the story.

Keep Learning

If you’ve read my Twitter for Presenters series, you know I love the idea of reviewing what people tweeted about your presentation as a way of looking into the minds of your audience.  As you get feedback from practice audiences and real audiences, open yourself to up to the continuing learning.

Now It’s Your Turn

What are you doing to get feedback for your presentations?  Are there any special questions you ask of your practice audience?  Do you get feedback from your formal audiences?  What questions do you ask?  Share with us here so we can all learn!