I recently gave a talk at a large venue to nearly 1,000 people. It seemed to go well but who am I to judge? The experience of giving a speech is radically different from the experience of listening to one. An adrenalin-drenched emotional rollercoaster for a nervous speaker may nevertheless be unbearably tedious for the listeners. A superbly honed performance may produce a sense of suspense, surprise and delight for the audience; the result of many hours of rehearsal and repetition for the speaker. Yet it can be very hard indeed for the speaker to know what worked and what didn’t.
I remember a job interview that I thought had gone very well. For once, I hadn't been nervous. A few days later I got a call from the lead interviewer, informing me that they didn't want me. Why? She gave some reasons, but when I made her go off-script, it became pretty clear that they thought I'd been arrogant. Shucks!