Why great speakers must seek out brutally honest feedback

There’s nothing wrong with encouragement or positive reinforcement, but if you want to become an exceptional orator, find someone who will candidly point out the flaws in your talk.

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Are you receiving meaningful and constructive feedback that will, in the long run, make you a great speaker?

If the only feedback you receive is “nice speech!”, why bother asking for feedback at all? If it’s just to boost your ego, stay at home and give your speech in front of a mirror.

If you want to become a great speaker, here’s a simple two-step solution for you:

1. Find experienced listeners who won’t kiss your behind.

2. Get them to give you in-depth, written comments that have specific suggestions for improvement. (“I liked your voice” won’t cut it.)

Perhaps you’re familiar with Toastmasters. Some criticize the organization’s tendency to emphasize acting at the expense of substance. However, the great thing about Toastmasters is that speakers receive feedback for each speech they give. This is crucial for inexperienced speakers; it builds confidence and helps people deal with nervousness.

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