Below are the evaluation form comments from the audience at a technology conference where I was the keynote speaker and "The Conference Networking Catalyst". I enjoy seeing the positive comments, but I also like the statements that are not as stellar (there are a few below that found me less than wonderful!). But those that say "he was just OK" are the ones that makes me think, ponder, grow, and enhance my stage presence. Plus, the world is full of "pre-judgers and eye-rollers" and I know you cannot please everyone.
As a speaker at a business convention I want to make sure that I set a positive tone and impact those in attendance. However, I also want to make sure that I assist the meeting planners in achieving their goals for the whole conference. I stay for breaks and meals and meet the people, I do not just "speak and run". I find that meeting planners appreciate this deep level of participation more than most professional speakers understand.
I often speak for technology company meeting, law firm retreats, accounting industry events, association conferences and inside companies across industry lines. Some people think that left-brained, smart, successful, and introverted professionals do not want to hear about the power of business relationships and networking.... but they are wrong. My presentation resonates with these professionals as much as it does with the right-brained creatives and sales / marketing folks.
Here are the comments (name of conference withheld):
*Thom's personality made the a great presentation.
*I'm excited to apply what I learned!
*Very good, really learned some great information. I would recommend doing some more examples, like perform some role playing on the stage and then let the audience run with it.
*About time you kicked off this conference with a good keynote. The last thing I want to hear is some VP talking about somebody else's work they took credit for.
*Thom is a fantastic speaker and very motivating. I would see him again or invite him to speak at my company.
*Excellent on all counts!
*He came off as too much of a salesman. I walked out about halfway through.
*Dynamic speaker. Really enjoyed both the delivery and the content of the message.
*Helped people open up. A must!
*It changed my conference experience and will change how I approach networking (personal & business). Loved the personal stories and being asked to talk to two people I didn't know. Very dynamic, he should come back.
*Thom was great.... He really should work on being a little more outgoing - he seems rather shy :) ....Seriously, he navigated his stories about people networking in a way that all tied together in the end. The story of his daughters medical condition and miraculous recovery was heart-wrenching for any parent, yet he weaved it wonderfully into his agenda..... kudos
*fabulous talk; really enjoyed Thom's presentation and delivery!!
*He is a great speaker !!
*very entertaining and helpful presentation
*Good job at helping everyone feel good about networking
*Sorry I had to miss this!
*Fabulous! I never wanted to network before but I gave it a try and had amazing results! Thank you for having him as a speaker!
*Thom was a great addition to the conference. This is typically a group that does not network and his talk made a difference
*I found this presentation very informative and will be downloading the PDF for review.
*Great presentations and motivation for social network and developing conversation ability. Enjoyed it!!
*Thom was a great addition to the conference and a really nice guy.
*I especially appreciated his suggestion of when to "friend" people, and become a "connector" of people. That will stick with me from now on!
*WOW! This was the highlight of [the conference] for me! Of course, I was looking for cables and fiber, but...
I enjoy it when clients forward me the scores and these comments from their conference evaluation forms. Feedback is very important for professional speakers. Without the audience responses, we are just talking in a vacuum.
The next time you attend an event, take the time to fill out the evaluation, and go beyond the number scores.... actually leave brief comments about what you liked (or did not like). It helps the meeting planners / conference coordinators improve their meetings,...AND your comments will find their way back to the speakers, who can utilize your input to make their future talks even better!!!!
Have A Great Day.