Before you do a presentation, you want to find out about the background and needs of your audience, and you may choose to tailor your content or delivery somewhat.
However, don’t change who you are. You have to be you.
This is especially true when considering feedback.
Be careful and discerning about whom you accept criticism from and how deeply you consider what they say.
Some people will criticize you just for being you. Don’t listen to them. And don’t try to please everybody, because that’s not going to happen.
Being too sensitive to other people’s opinions could devastate your speaking career. I've seen people receive criticism and just wither away.
Develop a thick skin, but make sure that it still lets in helpful feedback.
How do you tell the difference? You start by considering the source.
“You’re Really Not Very Good.”
A number of years ago, Bob Proctor and I were going to be teaching at a seminar a magazine was hosting on The Science of Getting Rich. They were having trouble filling the room, so they asked us to do a pre-seminar to sell people on the full event.
After my presentation, the magazine’s editor-in-chief came up to me and asked, “Have you ever watched yourself speak before?”
“No, I never have,” I said.
“I suggest that you videotape yourself and start studying what you're saying,” he said.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because you're really not very good.”
I smirked a little, and said, “Let's just see what happens with the sales.”
Sure enough, what happened was we sold the entire room. Everybody in that pre-seminar signed up for the full seminar.
When I asked Bob about the criticism, he told me to disregard it. The guy was an intellect, who’d probably never seen a sales presentation before. He reminded me that I packed the room, which is what I was there to do.
Seek the Advice of Professionals
Take advice, suggestions, and criticism from seasoned pros and people who know the business.
If you get criticism about your speaking performance from a member of your audience, ask a pro for a second opinion.
Some advice might be good, and you may want to consider changing what you’re doing. But some feedback will be full of hot air, and you need to ignore it.
Once at a seminar, a member of my team told me that an attendee wasn’t happy with how quickly I was presenting the material.
I told him, “I'm not changing that for anybody. This is how I present, who I am and what I do.”
Don’t let people tell you that you need to speak faster or slower, step to the left, not gesture with your hands or whatever. Forget all of that stuff.
When you speak, just be the best that you can be, and be authentic.
People-pleasing will not increase your sales. In fact, the opposite is true.
The more authentic you are, the more your ideal clients will respond to you, and the greater your sales are likely to be.