The Art of Self-Critiquing
Stacey explained that we often request feedback from people that for whatever reason, aren’t totally honest with us. They don’t mention the uncomfortable things, such as informing us, “you say ‘um’ or ‘uh’ a lot.” They also don’t mention you never paused during a presentation, or talked to the slide show instead of the audience. They simply say “you did great”, which ultimately provides no constructive feedback for us. As professionals, we need honest feedback to succeed.
Our practice must be deliberate. The only way to accomplish that effectively is to film our performance, then watch and critique it. We are much more brutal to ourselves than anyone else would be. Look for repeating words, and be especially aware of pauses. A pause after a statement gives the listener time to absorb the information.
Be committed to being self-aware and consistent. To illustrate this point, Stacey did what I thought was impossible. She had a ballroom full of people pair off and do a brief exercise. We stood face-to-face with another person and spoke about a given topic until told to switch. The listener’s job was to stop us if we said or did any of the following: fidget, lose eye contact, repeated “spacer words” (such as ‘so’, ‘and’, ‘okay’, ‘but’, etc.). Or, the cardinal sin, spoke endlessly without arriving at the point.