Many moons ago, when I was working at Sleep Country Canada’s head office, they sent me off to study the Zenger Miller (now Achieve Global) leadership program.
One of my best memories about that 10-week course, and something that really stuck with me, was how to debrief yourself in any situation. Even 15+ years later, I find myself using these three simple questions whenever I present or train.
After your next presentation (training seminar, project, interview, client meeting, event, etc.), pause for a moment and ask yourself these quick questions.
Also, write down your observations in a speaker’s journal or Word document so that you can come back to them at a future date to re-examine your previous presentations to identify opportunities for improvements.
- What were the highlights of the situation?
- What did you enjoy about the experience?
- What positive feedback did the attendees share with you afterwards?
Examine what you carry around in your mind about the characteristics of effective platforms and skills e.g. pace, interactivity, visual aids, group exercises, handling questions, etc. What stands out that you did well?
2. What went wrong?
Yes, instead of starting off with the negative, you should try to begin debriefing by examining everything that was positive about your presentation.
…My rule of thumb is to try to have twice as many positives as negatives.
Then, when you feel up to it, switch over to the browbeating and self-analysis that we’re all very capable of activating at the drop of a hat. This one doesn’t need as much explanation or prodding, now does it?
And last, but not least…
3. What would you do differently next time?
Working off the list of negatives, what changes would you like to make for when you next undertake a presentation or other activity?
I strongly believe that taking just 5 minutes to complete a simple debriefing exercise after everything that you do in 2014 will pay huge dividends throughout the year. Welcome to your own personal continuous cycle of improvement!
I have also used this debriefing strategy with committees. Then I take all their results to tabulate a thorough 360-degree evaluation of an event. This technique has so many useful applications. If you give it a try, please let us know how it worked for you, here on the blog.
- Do you currently debrief regularly?
- What tools do you use to debrief?
- What methods work best for your business?
Please feel free to share your suggestions in the comments section below.
This guest blog was written by:
Chief Fear Slayer
GoodToGreat Public Speaking Training
Author of Giving the Gift of Public Speaking
“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man ccontemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery