Survey your presentation audience

A survey doesn’t give you immediate feedback like social media or  other real-time feedback. But it gives you more control over the kinds of insights you’ll get from the audience—and the comments may be more thoughtful and useful to you. Make the survey short and direct, and have people fill it out on paper, online, or by e-mail. Explicitly ask them to be candid. Project a slide at the end of your talk encouraging people to rate you right away, with their phones or tablets.

Organizers of large events often survey audiences at all the sessions. If you’re speaking at such an event, ask for the results. Even if you’re doing a much smaller talk or less formal presentation, you can ask one or two audience members whose opinion you value to give you an honest read on how it went. Tell them you’re trying to refine your skills, and they’ll probably be glad to help.

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