Friday, November 05, 2010

Feedback for Your Improvement -- Style Factors

It's been said that feedback is the breakfast of champions (and beer-over-wheaties is the cereal of ex-champions).

If you want to improve your teaching presentation style, recruit someone you trust to give you honest assessment. But you need to give them a specific list of things to monitor, or else you're likely to get back a nice-but-nonspecific "Good job!"

Here are seven aspects they can monitor for you:
  1. Volume -- loud enough?
  2. Talking speed -- not too fast, and some variation for engagement?
  3. Tone -- positive and upbeat, or dreary?
  4. Move around, move hands?
  5. Uhms, Oohs, You-Know, and other filler words? Level of distraction?
  6. Making eye contact regularly without uncomfortable staring? Making eye contact with people in all areas of the room?
  7. Overall energy level at start, mid-point, and end?
None of those are really about content and organization. (We'll take that up in another blog post :-) But these are all critical factor in your presentation style, which makes it easier or harder for people to engage with the content. Jonathan Edwards preached in a monotone, but you're not likely to be successful if you do that.

You'll probably be surprised at gaps between the feedback you receive and what you thought was going on. The better you understand how you are perceived, the better you can improve.

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