You wrap up the full day class feeling pretty good about the day. Once everyone has left and you start packing up your laptop and other gear from the day you take a moment to read through the evaluations. As you read through you feel even better about the day as it seems that you hit the mark for people.
At the bottom of the stack is that one evaluation. The scores say, “Your Class Sucked”. However, there are no comments in the comment fields and of course they are one of the only people not to put their name on the evaluation.
Note: When I use my own evaluations they simply ask two questions: 1. What was your greatest takeaway from the training? and, 2. What could I have done to enhance the learning experience for you? There is also space at the bottom of the page for Additional Feedback. When I teach at conferences or for some agencies they require people fill out their evaluation, which is often the rating scale from 1 to 10 with room for comments at the bottom.
The tendency for many trainers is to:
- Focus on the one bad evaluation and brood and dwell on it instead of taking a moment to feel good about the fact you hit the mark for the majority of the people in the room, or
- Write off the bad evaluation by telling yourself that whoever wrote it is an idiot, or
- Both 1 and 2.
Rather than dwelling on the negative evaluation, step back and look at the areas where they gave you low scores and ask yourself, “What could I have done differently in those areas to make this a better training experience?” If they took the time to write comments you need to take the time to read them and realize that for that person, on that day, you did not give them what they expected or needed. Once you have reflected and thought about how to improve the training, make a note somewhere so you make sure to incorporate those positive changes into the next training session.
You may want to tell people before they complete the evaluations, “If there are elements of the training that did not meet your needs today please take the time to give me specific feedback on the evaluations so I can improve the training for future audiences.“
If you are going to give a presenter low scores on an evaluation make sure to take the time to give specific feedback and, put your name on the evaluation along with your contact information so they can follow up with you. Some will follow up and some will not, but at least you provide the opportunity for them to do so in order to improve their training.
We all get those evaluations. My most recent one was ten days ago. Use them to reflect, learn, grow and improve.
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