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What to look for in audience surveys after you deliver a keynote speech

If you deliver a keynote as part of a larger meeting or conference, sending out a quick survey right afterward is a great way to begin judging whether your message has begun to resonate with your audience.

After the surveys come back, it’s well worth your time not only to review the quantitative results but also digest any comments that respondents decided to share. This way, you can pick up some new (and honest) insights you may have never known about otherwise.

A couple months ago, a keynote speech I wrote for a client’s quarterly meeting garnered an “educational and informative” thumbs-up from every survey respondent. Here are some of the typical comments I found on the last page of the survey report, which asked respondents to share “something that you learned today” from the presentation:

  • “I liked the brief history lesson”
  • “Added to my knowledge about the company”
  • “Gained a better understanding of my opportunity”
  • “I have deeper knowledge about our values”
  • “The essentials were reinforced”
  • “Now I know what drives our decisions”
  • “Learned about our opportunities to grow if we are willing to learn”

Some survey respondents, however, went way beyond providing “educational and informative” feedback about the topic of this speech.


These survey respondents described how the speech made them feel.

  • “Hearing him speak lit a fire in me about how I can be better”
  • “It made me very motivated to continue to work hard”
  • “Now I really feel that I can do this”
  • “It cemented for me the ‘why’ of what we are doing daily”
  • “The speaker is someone many of us don’t know or see – but now he feels much more reachable”

Think about the last speech you delivered.

Did you go beyond being “educational and informative”?

Did your message resonate?

Did you change the way people feel?