We’ve become accustomed to requesting and giving feedback all the time. Order a meal in a restaurant, and one of the wait staff will ask if everything was to your satisfaction. Walk to a register, and a clerk will ask if you found everything you wanted. Purchase something online and … you know what’s next … you’re asked to review the purchase.
Many speakers miss one of the most important parts of their presentation – the debrief. I’m referring to that quick, 15- to 30-minute meeting with the folks who booked you, usually conducted a day or two after your presentation. The debrief is important for a number of reasons:
- You’ll have another chance to personally thank the event planner for hiring you, and you have another opportunity to build and maintain a positive relationship with him or her.
- You’ll receive important feedback on your presentation that you can use to make the next one even better.
- You’ll obtain more insight into what’s most important to the event planner. Use that information to promote your services for future events, highlighting the priority areas.
- You’ll learn if anyone has requested follow-up information about you or your topic, which can lead to additional networking and possible future bookings.
- You’ll have a conversation which may reveal other goals the event planner or company would like to achieve.
I recently heard about one speaker who used a debrief successfully to learn more about the client company’s vision and next steps. The speaker, who also had expertise that could be helpful in the client’s progress, was approached about returning to the company for another speech.
The speaker asked a series of well-phrased questions, which determined that only one more presentation wouldn’t be in the client’s best interest. Rather, the speaker suggested three shorter sessions with “homework” assigned in between planned speaking dates. Those three sessions led to much stronger results for the company, and the speaker was booked for additional work whenever possible.
A great presentation will please your client. A great presentation with a thoughtful debrief may delight you and your client.