Evaluations of my STC Summit 2010 talks

A few months ago I wrote about my experience presenting at STC Summit in Dallas — my first time speaking at an event outside of UX and web design.

Yesterday I received the evaluations of my two talks — 10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design and Evangelizing Yourself — and I’m quite pleased with the results. Sharing them with you is my way of staying honest and holding myself accountable to make the presentations even better.

The comments are far more important to me than the scores, since they help me tweak the content and style for future gigs. My goal is to continually improve the clarity and effectiveness of my presentations to ensure I’m doing my best to help people learn, and scores alone just don’t give me enough information to go on.

Of course I would have liked to have received feedback from more of the attendees, but the way STC Summit conducts these surveys doesn’t really encourage it — evals are filled out at computer stations in the hallway, instead of on paper at the end of each session.

So if you attended either of these sessions at STC Summit and didn’t complete an evaluation, please feel free to post your feedback in the comments!

All feedback is worthwhile and I’m thrilled to have gotten such glowing reviews overall.

Just for a point of reference, the average score for all conference speakers who were evaluated:

Content: 3.96/5.00
Delivery: 3.94/5.00

10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design

According to room monitor counts, approximately 75 people attended your session. You received 23 evaluations and your scores are summarized below.

Content: 4.30/5.00
Delivery: 4.39/5.00

  • Easy to follow, simplified explanations. Topic is well situated in the wider context.
  • I really enjoyed this session. I learned a few things… and learned a couple of ways to deal with some misconceptions and objections
  • Whitney did a great job and I really like her strong advocacy for making UX part of the process, not just a checkbox item on the project plan.
  • I may have picked the wrong session. It seemed too focused on a small part of what our users run into – installation. Our product is not installed via a disc. We install it for our customers. But our product covers such a large part of their every day work, I wanted tips to help make it easier for them to do thier jobs.
  • Concise and informative.
  • Whitney rocks in spite of the rude people in the audience griping about her age.
  • Great information about an area that many technical communicators are moving toward. It’s great to see some younger, non-tech comm presenters bringing in new ideas. Great job, Whitney!
  • Ms Hess is an outstanding speaker and well-versed on the topic. The presentation seemed a bit “automatic,” but the Q&A session was fluid and that’s where she really shone. She handled the audience deftly, even the participants who were outright rude and questioned why she was there. She graciously and patiently answered questions that were clearly answered in her presentation, which showed much more maturity than other, older member presenters have shown. An absolute delight, and I’m thrilled STC invited her.
  • I liked her use of references to books and quotes by experts in the field. The amount of information communicated from the one hour talk has grown exponentially.
  • Brief, but useful. The Q&A was a good opportunity to elaborate on some of the themes and ideas presented previously.
  • A speaker who delivers personal insight very well, making the whole thing interesting.
  • Good UX, practicing what she preaches. I learnt new stuff, got links to look at, and enjoyed what I heard.
  • Slides were very hard to read – white and red on black is not good for slides in a large room.
  • presentation was short, but the speaker left time for some good Q&A afterward.
  • A breath of fresh air for the Summit!
  • I really like her speaking and presentation style. But it felt like she didn’t really understand or hasn’t really had much contact with technical writers. It seemed like there was a disconnect somewhere that led to a weird vibe in the room. I really hope she presents at future conferences.
  • Whitney is a very articulate speaker and comes across as at ease on the podium. The session content was exactly as described, and I learned a lot. Thank you!
  • Great session! Gave me lots of food for thought as well as thinking of user experience in other ways than just software.
  • I learned a lot. This session was a very good value, and was presented well.

Evangelizing Yourself

According to room monitor counts, approximately 64 people attended your session. You received 17 evaluations and your scores are summarized below.

Content: 4.59/5.00
Delivery: 4.41/5.00

  • Super presenter! By far, the best speaker, IMO.
  • Whitney personally made an impact on me and hit home on many of her “issues” regarding confidence, speaking and overall desire to improve herself. She spoke honestly, candidly and was sincere and down to earth.
  • She knew her material and knew herself and was confident in her delivery contrary to how she may have felt ;-)
  • A true inspiration and look forward to watching seeing and hearing her speak in the future.
  • Intriguing approach. Thank you for a thought-provoking session.
  • I’m not sure the message was any different than what would have been offered by anybody in any other profession, but it certainly resonated with the audience.
  • loved her presentation. at the end there was an opportunity for a group question and answer session, but she opted to do the Q&A on a personal one-on-one basis, which i think was a mistake. she should have addressed questions as a group. overall, whitney has an engaging voice with a perspective that many people at the summit definitely needed to hear. i loved that she was at the conference.
  • Excellent session!
  • This is clearly Whitney’s topic of passion – when a speaker can do a presentation without looking at her notebook or the screen and knows exactly when to click Next – and it’s still custom to the audience – wow. And she wasn’t on autopilot – this was an emotional, humorous, honest presentation, and everyone in that room left changed for the better. Maybe not immediately, but at some point, the lessons will begin to influence them.
  • Even though I already knew a lot of this, it was a great reminder. Each point was right on! I didn’t find much to disagree with. Awesome job.
  • Emphasised how give and take works in the world of ‘self-promotion’ and highlighted how important social media are going to be (already are) in this field.
  • Entertaining and well-presented.
  • Great presentation and content; LOTS of content very well and persuasively presented; good reminder that folks need to be ‘reminded’ of the obvious stuff!
  • a great pep talk and shot in the arm! her personal story made the familiar lines have impact. enjoyable way to end the day.
  • I found the content useful, and Whitney’s delivery was refreshing. How often do you hear the word “fuck” in a professional presentation? I was not offended, but I can see how some might have been.
  • Ms. Hess and her info were quite impressive for someone so young. She is fortunate to have figured it out so early! I’m just beginning to struggle with similar issues/concepts and I’m more than twice her age. But her courage spoke to me directly and I hope some of it will help push me forward. Good job.
  • She might want to work on her voice quality – it seemed a bit monotone and hoarse-sounding sometimes.

Thanks to everyone who evaluated my sessions, and to the fine folks at STC Summit for inviting me to join in all the fun.

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  1. says

    Cool! I was one of the commenters on Evangelizing Yourself. I’m working on a blog post in response to it right now. I’ll let you know when it’s posted. :)

  2. Ajith says

    Good work Whitney … keep it up.
    I have read the presentations earlier … but I would have loved to hear it from Whitney herself.
    Do you have any video recordings for it?


  1. […] evaluations from the Society for Technical Communication 2010 Summit just arrived in email. Whitney Hess says she finds the comments more useful than the numeric scores: The comments are far more […]

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