What’s more uncomfortable than getting up on stage and presenting to 300 strangers… watching the replay! I’ve held off on writing this post because I hate seeing myself on film, absolutely hate it. I don’t like hearing my voice on film or through headphones because I sound alien. I also don’t want to watch the video because I can’t remember if I messed up or embarrassed myself so why go there, right?
Wrong. Top performers in any industry routinely practice their craft and create feedback loops to continuously improve performance (for more on this check out Deep Work or Peak, or anything written by Ramit Sethi). If you want to improve performance, you must find ways to review your performance in real time, which reminds me of a time when I was little…
I remember sitting on the floor in my living watching video footage of my mom’s students reciting speeches in front of a camera. Mom was a Communications Professor at a local community college and one of the assignments she gave her students was to prepare a speech on camera so that she can provide feedback. I remember popping in the VHS while mom sat there with notebook in hand to jot down her thoughts. She’d critique what she thought her students did well and what they could have done better, and I’d stay for the popcorn. Did I forget to mention that I was around six or second years old when we started this tradition.
Mom was also in charge of preparing the valedictorian speaker for each graduation season so each summer a graduating senior would arrive at our door scared as a mouse in desperate need of mom’s help. Mom set up a makeshift podium on our kitchen table and they’d practice while I listened from the other room trying to anticipate the things I thought my mom would comment on. Oh the memories! I learned a lot from being a spectator and now I know what to look for when reviewing my own film footage.
My DisruptHR video is up and I’ve had some distance from the event, now is the perfect time to watch and do my own teardown of what went well and what makes me cringe. What’s a tear down without a little help from mom, I’ll share her tear-down thoughts as well.
As they say in football, “let’s go to the videotape!”
Overall, my enunciation was good, I brought a lot of high energy to my speech and I think that came through. I look as if I’m having a casual conversation with a friend and I look and feel authentic
- I don’t look nervous and I didn’t feel nervous when I was up there so I’m smiling as I write this because all the preparation (20 + hours, more on that here and here ) paid off!
- My timing is spot on, I don’t feel like I’m rushing through slides
- 1:15 – I quickly glanced down at the teleprompter and noticed that the slide is missing a key image that should be there, the image sets up the rest of the speech so I’m a little jarred. I briefly make a comment “Hmm, something is missing there” and make a joke of it rather than stopping my entire grove and got a laugh from the audience which was a big plus. However, I pointed directly at the teleprompter – I doubt the audience would have known had I not pointed it out. Note to self – don’t point at the teleprompter.
- 3:15 – I use the phrase “take an inventory or an audit” which I adlibbed as a way to tie my content back to an early speaker – this got a laugh and made me feel like I thought quickly on my feet and way “in the moment.”
The Cringe Worthy:
- Mom and I both agree that I look like I am playing a tennis match moving back and forth on the stage, pointing and shooting.
- I look awkward pacing back and forth and it looks unnatural. Even during my practice sessions, I really had difficulty with the physicality of giving a speech. I need to work even more on this for next time
- Mama Dukes did not like my outfit!!! She felt that I had too many shades of blue, she may have a point. Looking back my outfit choice may not have been the best, but I purposely picked an outfit that I felt both strong and confident in so at least it got the job done.
- My title and the topic of my speech didn’t align - for next time I’d like to write a snazzier title that better aligns to my content
So, there you have it, re-watching the five-minute presentation wasn’t easy, but I learned key takeaways and useful insights to implement for my next presentation. On a plus note, on whim I applied for and sent in my video to a call for speakers for the City of Detroit. They loved my vulnerability in my video and have added me to their speaker line up, we are trying to set up speaking engagement for late September.