Why Is Getting Presentation Feedback So Important?

Collecting presentation feedback is probably low on your list of priorities, especially if you’re terrified of public speaking and not making a fool of yourself in front of a group of people is your biggest concern. But having some sort of response system in place so your audience can provide you with feedback on your presentation is an incredibly useful (not to mention inexpensive) way to improve your public speaking skills and become an even better presenter.

Why is getting presentation feedback so important?

For starters, when people provide you with feedback—even if it’s negative—you know they were paying attention. They were listening and watching, and by telling you what they thought of your presentation, they’re giving you input on your overall message, from what you said to how you said it.

That’s powerful information; it’s the best way for you to know if your presentation is doing what you want it to, whether that’s to inform, persuade, or motivate other people. Who better to tell you than the people in your audience?

Choose The Right Response System

Despite its usefulness, speakers continue to pass up the opportunity to poll audiences to get their feedback on a presentation. Certainly, no one wants to feel rejected or be told their presentation was terrible, but wouldn’t you rather be told your presentation missed the mark, than to continue delivering bad presentations that don’t engage audiences?

Not only that, but without presentation feedback, a speaker is forced to self-evaluate. Some will be overly-critical while others will be self-congratulatory—neither of which are beneficial or inspire the speaker to get better.

Offer a Presentation Feedback Form

In our Presentation Skills Training workshops, we talk about the importance of making a connection with the audience, and that connection doesn’t need to end with the presentation.

An immediate response system, such as providing your audience with a presentation feedback form to fill in and return at the end of the presentation is one way to gauge your performance. You can also encourage audience members to use other methods to provide feedback, such as directly to you through temp email, on social media, or online on Google or Yelp. This way, they’re not only helping you by rating your presentation, but their positive reviews will bolster your reputation, which will encourage others to work with you. And they’re staying connected with you beyond the presentation.

If the thought of having people “judge” your presentation frightens you, think about how getting positive feedback will make you feel. If you’re someone who lacks confidence or tends to be self-critical of your performance, hearing others tell you your presentation was inspiring or enjoyable can go a long way to helping you overcome your feelings of inadequacy.

Using Presentation Feedback to Achieve Your Goals

Whatever the situation that’s brought you to the podium—whether you’re a keynote speaker at a fundraiser or delivering a sales pitch—getting presentation feedback can be energizing. Consider how you feel when a manager or co-worker congratulates you on a job well done. You feel invigorated and motived to continue doing a good job that gets recognized.

The same is true of positive presentation feedback: When you know you’ve achieved your goal of connecting with an audience, you’re motivated to keep making those connections—and make them even better.

So what should your presentation feedback form (or other response system) look like? That’s up to you. But however you decide to collect presentation feedback, use the comments you receive to:

  • Assess what you are doing well and where you need to improve
  • Understand how your message is being received by others
  • Direct you toward achieving your goals (e.g., increase your number of sales)

Not All Feedback is Bad

The term ‘feedback’ has earned a bad rap with some people. They hear it and run because they’re afraid someone will say something negative about them.

Not all feedback is negative, and not all of it is positive. But it should always be constructive, and as a public speaker you should want to hear it all. It’s the best way to know what your audience is getting from your presentation so you can improve your public speaking skills.

Do you provide opportunities for your audiences to give feedback? Tell us about it in the comment section or find us on social media and bring the conversation there. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.


  1. Michael Day says:

    I joined Toastmasters a year ago and have had some good feedback and some not so good. Some of the members were in my shoes, really not sure how to evaluate my presentations very well. Feedback is great but I guess it depends on the person giving the feedback.

  2. Self evaluation is always hard to do. I’m a firm believer in having another person critique your work- it’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself!

  3. Good post!
    I also had a bad feeling about the feedback until I read this post.
    I’ll be definitely using feedback form next time.
    I might still feel a bit uneasy, though.

  4. I would like to get some professional feedback on my delivery. I think I will have someone video my presentation and send it to you guys to evaluate it.

  5. Cary Wittleman says:

    I am a corporate trainer and give presentation feedback to our managers. Most of our folks really appreciate having good feedback so they can make their next presentations better.

  6. Ralph Saucier says:

    Soliciting feedback is scary but necessary if you want to improve and I do…very scary though. Good article 

  7. Anita Ayela says:

    Since I have written feedback forms for companies myself, I know how they work.But reading this blog set me thinking as to how it helps the presenter. I agree with the author that feedback, whether good or bad, definitely helps us in evaluating oneself.

  8. Mike Rickard says:

    Yes. I agree with everyone who says feedback can be scary-but it can also be helpful. The key is getting people to use constructive criticism. You are also going to have to get used to the occasional remarks from someone who is just being spiteful. Learn to recognize constructive criticism and take it to heart.

  9. I used to take all feedback as negative. I wasn’t able to differentiate “bad” from “constructive”. This greatly hurt me in the workforce and I actually lost my first job fresh from college over it. I have come a long way but I am still learning and things like this help me a lot. Public speaking on any level has never been easy for me but I have always been way too hard on myself. I see that now.

  10. Coleen Hays says:

    I have never had anybody give me any feedback on my presentations.

  11. Maria Arnold says:

    One of the cardinal characters of people who want to succeed is the courage to accept valid criticism. Feedbacks must not be good but it is a necessity that will help to know if you rea making progress

  12. Darryle Brown, DTM says:

    Great feedback is absolutely essential to one’s ability to polish one’s skills even as an experienced speaker. Without it, we are unable to assess our strengths and growth opportunities along the way. Who wants to fall into a rut and never improve when called upon to speak? I would say no one which is why feedback is a must for both amateur and experienced speakers.

  13. Upsurge Persona says:

    Good article. Very knowledgeable and informative. I would like to read new articles related to this! I Would also like you to read our articles related personality development and mental health.

  14. Good article. Very knowledgeable and informative.

  15. Your article provides helpful tips on how to collect feedback to improve our presentation skills.

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