Evaluations… practice being a coach to improve your presentations

Do you watch Dancing with the Stars?  One of the three judges is Bruno Tonioli.  Usually, I have a problem with him. Particularly when he addresses the contestants.  It is at that time that he will usually express himself in a manner such as “You need to work on your rhythm.  You looked like Shrek lumbering about for your dinner!”

PU-LEASE!  Is that type of comment necessary?  I hope you will agree it is not.  Perhaps, in the style of Simon Cowell, they hope to boost ratings.  But let’s take a look at it from a public speaking standpoint.

Tonight, Bruno said to one of the worst dancers, “You were on, you were off, you were on…  You had a section in the middle where you were with the music, but you need to work on that.  Work on staying with the music.”

Don’t you think that is better than, “You look like a broken jukebox!  Skipping and jumping and not keeping the rhythm.”

As a presenter, you can learn two things from this.  First, connect with your audience.  Don’t alienate them.  If you can connect with your audience, they are more likely to listen, to consider, and maybe to see it your way.  That is true whether you are evaluating them, or whether you are presenting a new business proposal or donation request.

Second, learn from evaluations.  Learn from others’ evaluations wherever you find them.  And if you can’t find them, do them yourselves.  Evaluate people.  Do it in your head if necessary.  Get used to noticing the things that you yourself need to work on.  Maybe even by noticing mistakes in others, you will notice that you have the same problem which you didn’t notice before.

It is similar to when you purchase a new car.  Before you bought that car, whatever make or model,  you didn’t notice that particular car on the road.  But once you bought it, you notice everyone on the road.  The same goes for any type of expertise.  The more you watch for it, the more you notice it, the more easily you pick it up in the future.  This can be used to your advantage.  Look for good and bad presentation techniques in others and you will start to notice them in yourself.

By the way, there is a term for that sensitivity.  I heard it on the radio last month.  Do you know what it is?

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