It was a comment I received on a speaker evaluation about 10 years ago. And honestly, it stuck with me. For years I stressed about it and tried to decipher its meaning.
Like an annoying popcorn kernel after movie night, that one comment seemed to be permanently lodged in the back of my head… irritating me.
Sure, speaker evaluations are a necessary part of the speaking business. They can be helpful, encouraging… and yes… hurtful. But understanding how to interpret them is an important part of becoming a referrable speaker.
Today, let’s discuss the truth about speaker evaluations… the good, the bad, and the ugly.
(Cue wild west movie suspense music!)
The Grain of Salt
Movie popcorn tastes best with loads of butter and a dash of salt.
So, when you receive your own set of speaker evaluations after a gig, you’ll need the proverbial “grain of salt” to interpret the data.
I recently spoke at an event with around 3,000 attendees and received 365 evaluations. So that’s only 10% of the audience who bothered to fill out the info. The comments you receive often represent a fraction of your entire audience.
Honestly, that’s pretty common.
Sometimes smaller events – ones with under 50 people – have a higher percentage of completions. (Just like grade school… less room to hide if you’re in a smaller group.)
These evaluations usually include some sort of rating. It might say “4.5 out of 5.0” and list the average speaker score as “3.9.” Or, you might get a ratings chart like the one below.
Okay, cool. That’s fun to know.
But the real value in speaker evaluations comes from the comments people write in. Sometimes these are handwritten, on an app, or compiled onto a spreadsheet. Either way…
Speaker evaluation comments can be really helpful and allow you to shape your speech and the experience you deliver.
Typically, the comments will arrive in one of three forms. I’ll share some examples I’ve recently received for each of these categories so you can gain a little perspective and see how I use (or ignore) each type.
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