Critiquing yourself after you give a speech is extremely important because it is one of the best ways to improve your public speaking skills. But how do you critique yourself after your give a speech?
By being able to critique what you do and how you do it, the way you make mistakes and what you do well, you can come to a better understanding of your speaking style and what works well and what doesn’t. Critiquing yourself is very important.
Get an Audio of Video Recording of Yourself
Firstly, get a video or an audio recording of yourself. One of the best ways to critique yourself is to watch yourself, also listen to yourself playing back.
I know that when you listen to your own voice, it can be very awkward because your voice doesn’t sound like that in your own head when you’re speaking. It is very strange to listen to yourself and even today, I still have troubles listening to myself or watching myself on video but I do it on purpose to understand how I can become a better speaker.
Get a video or audio recording and listen to it back and let’s critique ourselves that way.
You can do this very easily with smartphones, iPhones have great recording capabilities. Most smartphones do have a microphone in them these days, same with video.
It doesn’t have to be super high quality video that you paid a thousand dollars to get produced. You can buy a mini-tripod and you can film yourself on your iPhone and watch it back and see what you do.
How To Watch/Listen to Yourself Effectively
What you want to do is firstly, listen or watch yourself one time through without analyzing yourself, without pausing so you can get a feel for the overall speech. How did it feel? Was it fun-loving? Was it awkward? Did you stumble? Was it a good speech overall?
We want to get that overall vibe first.
Then, we want to look through our speech again and we want to look for ums and ahs and redundant phrases. One of the things that I used to say a lot and I still say every now and then is you know. I
would say, “You know, this is a really good idea, you know, because of this works with that and you know, blah, blah, blah.” I’d throw in all of these “you knows” which was a redundant phrase. It wasn’t actually adding to anything. I should have had a pause there.
Listen to it and look for those redundant phrases because what we want to do is eliminate them as much as possible because they have no place in a pubic speech.
You also want to look for repetitive gestures. Is your body moving in a certain way? Are you constantly flicking your hair? Are you walking three steps and then walking backwards three steps? Walking three steps? Are you standing still and swaying from side to side? What repetitive gestures that you’re using that are not adding to the value of your speech?
How do you react to interruptions?
You want to watch your speech and understand if something happens that you didn’t expect and that interrupt your speech, how do you react from that and keep going?
What you want to do is get better at managing interruptions and flowing through your speech despite interruptions.
Steve Jobs who is one of the greatest presenters of our time was excellent at handling interruptions and when you’re at a tech conference and doing the displays that he does with his key note presentations, always … There was something bound to go wrong but he handled the disruptions perfectly and you hardly even noticed that they existed.
How do you react to losing your place? You may be giving a speech and you lose your place or you forget where you’re at or you lost your train of thought when you’re halfway through a sentence. How do you recover from that and how did you bring the audience back in and bringing your speech back on track because that is bound to happen from time to time.
You get distracted, you see, “Hey, that guy is wearing a toupee and it’s falling off his head,” and then all of a sudden, you realize you’re halfway through a sentence and you don’t even know what you’re talking about because you’re too busy laughing about this guy’s toupee in the audience.
You want to understand how you react when you’ve lost your place and how you can quickly bring that back and engage the audience again.
Another thing you want to critique is how fast you talk. What you want to be looking for is whether you’re talking too fast which is very common or too slow which is not very common.
You just want to see what is the speed of which I’m talking? Should I be talking slower or am I at a good speed?
Because you’ll be able to tell when you watch it back whether you’re talking too fast and the audience is losing engagement because speed of words, if it is too fast shows nerves. We want to get a control of our speed of our words.
Finally, the last thing you want to look at is what was the best thing that you did during your speech. We’ve gone through and we’ve critiqued ourselves and we’re looking at all these negatives but what we want to do is finish off and we want to pull out that great thing that we did because if it was great then, the chances are it’s going to be great the next time you give a public speech as well.
What worked well? What have the audience laughing or really engaged or what was some phrase that I used that was just like, “That was awesome.” Look through your speech and don’t quit until you find one thing that you do well and that you’re proud of and then give yourself a pat on the back.
I hope that these tips on how to critique yourself after you give a speech has been helpful. Critiquing yourself is so important because it really helps you grow and become a better public speaker.