I was helping someone work on their presentation skills this week, and I suggested we do a "Stop, Start, Continue" exercise. My friend had never heard of this, so I thought it might be worth writing up in case others are in the same camp.
This technique is very straight-forward, and can be very effective and efficient. As the name implies, the goal is to observe activities, processes, etc. and come up with three distinct categories of feedback. I usually use one standard sheet of paper, and draw lines to create three sections and label them "Stop," "Start," and "Continue" so I can write notes as we go.
In the list below, you'll find brief descriptions, along with some examples from observing a presentation to give you a feel for what feedback might sound like in each category:
Things you aren't doing that you would benefit from starting
"Try to make eye contact with the audience when you are speaking."
"Come up with some examples you can share when you talk about
Things you are doing that you would benefit from stopping
"You're saying "um" and "you know" too much, and it is distracting. Try taping yourself and practicing until you don't use those filler words so much."
"Don't use acronyms unless you explain them."
"Don't read the slides. Get comfortable with the material so you can cover it conversationally without reading word-for-word."
Things that are working, that you should keep doing
"Your introduction was great - I had a clear understanding of the topics you were going to cover and why you're qualified to talk about them."
"Your 'can I see a show of hands for...' technique works really well to get the audience engaged with you and the topic."
As you can see, this is a pretty easy technique. If you use this technique, strive to provide specific examples that the recipient can use as a basis for improvement.