I realized something. When I did my first public facing presentation in front of a Java User’s Group, I didn’t do as well as I thought I would. I’ve done numerous talks for class, and work things before. Those weren’t a huge concern. Instead of attempting to scour all of the material I could find on improving. I found out that by asking the right person to give feedback: you can improve a lot. Not only did I get great feedback from the recorded talk, but he, Mark Thompson, was there for my second talk. After the second talk, I got even more feedback to improve for my next talk. (Still undecided on what to do next)

This should be done for any kind of training related event. A person that fits the roll of evaluator/feedback giver should be required of any organization providing training/education. Many of the classes that I’ve taken before have asked for feedback from the students. However, this is not best approach as that teaching is very different from learning. It’s a bit like taking advice on how to fish from fish. Students can only give feedback about how they felt about the class, but not give actionable advice on how the teacher can improve.

For the context of large corporations that provide training, this should be a no-brainer. The better your students understand the technology that you’re teaching: the more units/services you’ll eventually sell. In addition, you’re going to sell more training classes. Students will tell other students about the classes that were the most effective. The next question comes to how should we find evaluators? Firstly you should find a group who has experience and has had success with their feedback before. In my case, my friend was a member and officer in his local Toastmasters group. Secondly, you may want to find someone that doesn’t have a lot of knowledge in what you’re already presenting. If you’re not able to find that I would suggest talking with some of the most influential speakers in the industry if they’ve heard of such things or who they would approach in that situation.

In my 6 years of university, undergraduate and master’s degree, I never once saw a professor be evaluated for their performance. I’ve had some rough classes and I’ve had some great classes. I personally believe that the difference between the great classes and the bad classes were:

  1. Passion for the material

  2. Preparation

  3. Understood the material

  4. Pacing of the material

1. This includes interactivity with what is being taught

Later in another post, I may delve into some of the classes that I found influential in my education.