Linguistically, ‘Feedback’ is information about the results of a an action intended to direct the perception of a person about his behavior according to another’s reaction. Operationally feedback is a tool to inform us, as we learn public speaking, exactly how we are doing and what needs improvement. In this lesson we will learn to understand and analyze a speech, how to decide what needs commenting, and how to deliver feedback for maximum effect.
stage 1: Collecting information
For that analysis to work, however, it is imperative that you have as much of the relevant information, and that requires a written record of the speech, a record on which the subsequent analysis can be based.
- Write what was said
It is important to listen with a pen and a paper, and to write as much as possible. , because after the speech you remember much less of it than you think you would.
- Summarize the the content (do not transliterate word-for-word)
I is impossible to write every word said. We speak 100-150 words every minute but write only a third uas much. Therefore it is important to summarize and use shorthand.
- Find the main componenents -Structure, arguments, examples, rebuttal
It is much easier to follow and record a speech when you divide it to components and record them as such. This method makes sure you ‘get’ the main points of the speech, and helps uncover flaws. Was there an introduction? Did the speaker present a structure? Did he follow through on that structure? Was every argument expalained? Were the arguments backed by facts? etc.
- Form a spontaneous impression
Try to record your immediate feeling without analyzing it
- Evaluate style
Speaking style is fleeting, and after it passed it is difficult to put your finger on it. That is why it is recommended, during the actual speech to note your impression of the emotions conveyed by the speaker and the elements of his body language and voice.
- Evaluate substance
The content can be re-examined after the speech, so it is not as necessary to record our impression. Still, it may be useful to take a note of a good (or bad) example, and to point an argument you liked (or didn’t)
- Evaluate style
stage 2: analyze and develop conclusions
after the speech is over, it is time to look at your notes and delve deeper into what has been said and the meanings of the speech. In this part you try to take a step back from the speech and understand what your impresseion was, how that impresison was made, and whether this impression is backed by the actual substance or was a demagaugery excercise. This stage can be divided into a more technical first part in which we run through a ‘check-list’ of items and see whether the speech had them, and a second part in which we form our aesthetic impression over the persuasiveness of the speech and the speaker.
- Look at the parts of the speech
It is useful to start by running a check-list of the basic elements of speech to take stock of what was missing, and the quality of what was presented
- Content – was there structure? introduction? flag-posts? summary? Were there arguments? logic? factual evidence? etc.
- Style – Which emotions did the speaker convey? how as the body language? eye contact? hands gestures? voice modulation? reaction to quesitons from the audience?
- Context – did the speaker adjust himself to the audience? the time constraints? to other speakers?
- Evaluate Quality
This is the most sensitive and subjective part, which to many is the most difficult. Here you have to actually look into what as said and decide – on your own criteria – what was persuasive and what wasn’t.
stage 3: Present feedback
After you decided what you think about the speech, it is time to deliver your conclusions in a way that will have the best impact and most benefit to the speaker. This stage is quite sensitive as many people get offended by criticism.
< Therefore, there is tremendous value in being able to give feedback in a fashion that gets you listener to feel (not just understand) that you do have his best interests at heart.
- Constructive Criticism
Too many times people confuse ‘constructive criticism’ with ‘compliments’ – instead of presenting the favorable and their non-favorable impressions in a way that helps their listener they offer generaized platitudes. That is wrong. Constructive criticism means that every crtical observation should come with a recommendation for how to avoid it. That way your listener does not focus on the ‘your argument was vague’ admonition but rather on the ‘try to add more examples’ tip. Both are necessary, but the tip should be made dominant.
- Sincere constructive criticism
Feedback that misses the bad bits misses the whole point. It gives the listener a false impression of his ability, obscures routes for self improvement and make you sound sycophantic. If your listener is any wise, or if he has a sense of self-criticism he will also find the feedback unreliable and misleading. If your listener has both self-criticism and fear of speaking he will think you are trying to comfort him and cheerlead thus conclude that he was so awful you couldn’t bear to give him the facts. As a result, for people with stagefright only sincere, acurate in constructive criticism works.
- Effective Presentation
Presenting feedback in front of an audience is a speech just like any other, and should be prepared and delivered professionally as any other
- Structure your feedback speech
make sure you have an introduction and a summary. make sure you organize your conclusions in an easy-to-recognize order (e.g. good-parts vs bad-parts, or content vs style, or chronologically)
- Use empathetic style
Make sure to sound empathetic and constructive. Make sure not to sound appologetic on one hand or arrogant and condescending on the other.
- Structure your feedback speech