Criticism: How to Turn Gripes into Growth

Criticism, also known as feedback, can actually help us improve our presentation skills.

Criticism, also known as feedback, can actually help us improve our presentation skills.

No one enjoys being criticized! Yet, if you want to succeed, you’ve got to overcome all your natural instincts and actively seek out feedback, good and bad.

As a professional speaker, I know how it is. I face my critics every week. They’re called audiences. Not only do they rate me with their applause and laughter (or lack thereof), but frequently they’re asked to complete written evaluations, providing feedback for the meeting planners. I want those meeting planners to look like heroes, so I do everything possible to keep in top form. That means that I embrace and value criticism. I study those “evals” and listen to all comments, no matter how off the mark they may seem. And, even though I’ve been an executive speech coach and a professional speaker for decades, I still ask professional peers to be my toughest critics and give their feedback.

If you want to improve, you need to develop a positive, flexible, and creative attitude toward feedback. Here are eight practical ways to make criticism a positive and harness the power of feedback for your own success. (more…)

How to Make Your Presentation Introductions Exciting

At the 2017 American Payroll Association speaker school, my co-presenter seemed surprised when I asked him, “When you were a little boy what did you want to grow up to be?” (more…)

How to Get Started in The Speaking Business

If you haven’t heard the story of how I launched my speaking career, here’s a snapshot. Read below or enjoy this brief video, recorded at one of my events for speakers, coaches, consultants, and trainers:

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Make Your Presentation a Success – Is Your Message Clear?

Casablanca Film Poster Is your message clear? Bill Gold [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Great films and good speeches have a message. Is your message clear?

What’s your message? Legendary Hollywood producer Sam Goldwyn was quoted as saying, “If I want to send a message, I’ll send a telegram.” Yet, great films and good speeches do have a message. Some recent movies consist mainly of CGI explosions and chase scenes. They’re exciting, but at the end, the audience is usually left with a big “So what?”

In a speech, the funniest or most exhilarating story will be pointless if you don’t tie it into your theme and provide a lesson for the listener. (more…)