All I want for Christmas, is thick skin

I received the session feedback for my presentation on Social Media and Project Management at PMI’s Global Congress in Oct. It’s mixed.
The session was attended by 192 people, and 65 completed the feedback forms. Feedback was varied from:
“It was amazing to hear her points of view and research.”
“Outstanding.”
“Extremely relevant in today’s PM World.”
“Right on the mark.”

to:
“Not very informative.”
“Too generic.”
“Nothing new or different.”
“Bland.”

Strangely, one comment was made by someone who thought I was male. I hope that it was a typo.
The presentation’s biggest flaw was the insufficient demonstrations of social media tools. I considered including demos of tools in my presentation but decided against it because it would have been a repeat of the New Media Council’s presentation last year, when we showed live demos of Skype and Twitter.
I didn’t realize that there was a whole new audience who wanted to see it again. I had thought that social media tools were just for me. I was thinking about ‘what does it do?’ and ‘how can I convince everyone to do this in my company?’. I assumed everyone else believed the same. It turned out that I was wrong for a certain portion of my audience and that I misjudged their needs.
The feedback from conference sessions can be a double-edged sword. It’s great when someone says I gave a “fantastic” presentation, but it’s also disappointing to learn that I disappointed some of the attendees. It is human nature to be more focused on the negatives. You must take the best from feedback, regardless of whether it is from a presenter, as part your end-of year appraisal, or from a stakeholder in a project.
Three people took the time to comment about my delivery and it was a huge learning point for me. They commented on my accent and said I spoke too fast.
It’s true. I can control it and improve next time. The PMI Congress was held in English, but there were more than 150 nationalities in attendance. I didn’t consider that many of them didn’t speak English as their first language.
Next time I speak to an audience, I will make a concerted effort slow down.
Feedback is a gift. It helps us improve next time. Although it can be uncomfortable to see what anonymous people think of you in a spreadsheet, it is a valuable learning opportunity. Thank you to all who filled out the feedback forms at Congress. It was a great experience.
This post was first published in 2010. Despite the positive theme, this post was first published in 2010.
All I want for Christmas, is thick skin
I’ve got the session feedback back for my presentation on xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx at PMI’s Global Congress in October. It’s mixed.
The session was attended by 192 people, and 65 completed the feedback forms. Feedback was varied from:
“It was amazing to hear her points of view and research.”
“Outstanding.”
“Extremely relevant in today’s PM World.”
“Right on the mark.”
To:
“Not very informative.”
“Too generic.”
“Nothing new or different.”
“Bland.”
Strangely, one comment was made by someone who thought I was male. I hope that it was a typo.
The presentation’s biggest flaw was the insufficient demonstrations of social media tools. I considered including demos of tools in my presentation but decided against it because it would have been a repeat of the New Media Council’s previous year, when we showed live demos of Skype, Twitter and other online collaboration tools. I didn’t realize that there was a whole new audience who wanted to see it again. I had moved beyond ‘what social media tools do?’ to “How do I convince everyone that this is a good idea?’ I thought everyone else did too.

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