In one of the ASTD presentations I was in this past week, the presenter had given the talk earlier in the week. Evidently the feedback forms had already been turned in and seen by the presenter, because he referenced them several times.Part of the session was on engaging students (read: audience) in the classroom and the (rather boring) presenter then made comments like:
- “I got accused of being a talking head yesterday…“
- “Some people evidently think I’m like that…“
In each case, the comment was followed up with a statement along the lines of:
- “But I had a good reason to be like that…“
- “That’s because…“
- “But this is a different situation…”
I tried to think of an alternate way to interpret the comments, but I kept coming back to the most logical one (Occam’s Razor?) — they were excuses and the presenter did not intend to change his song and dance no matter what the audience said.Criticism is difficult to take. It’s especially hard when you’re the show and there’s nowhere to deflect it. But if Rule #1 is truly applicable, then any audience comment must at least be considered. Presenter exclusions, explanations, and excuses only come across as self-serving and audience-defeating, and it’s rarely appreciated or results in anything positive from the audience’s point of view.In this case, the criticism was justified (IMHO) as the presenter did not engage the audience to the extent he was extolling by his spoken words. And rather than taking the comments to heart and becoming a better presenter, he chose to defend his preparation and make himself look like he didn’t care what the audience wanted.
If the audience tells you something, listen. Instead of making excuses — instead consider a change.