I’m Not as Entertaining as I Think

People are Cruel.  Don’t be Cruel. Each year I am saddened by the nasty things that people are willing to say in an anonymous evaluation that they would not be willing to say to your face or even in a written evaluation with their name attached to it. I have posted previously about this with regard to my performance evaluation at the college. I have also written about how you can have 19 positive (even glowing) comments but it sticks with you and overrides the other comments when that 20th person says something nasty – at least it does for me.

This came up again last week when we (the ITC Board of Directors) received the conference evaluation results from eLearning 2009. Overall the evals are very, very positive. The conference committee and the Board should take great pride in the overall nature of the comments and ratings.

I participated in the Grand Debate at the conference. The Grand Debate is a conference tradition that occurs after lunch is served on the first full day of the conference, which happens to be a Sunday. Bryan Alexander and Brian Lamb delivered our top two keynote speeches; which is a calculation based on the evaluation scores received. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, they were rated on the basis of 1) Topic, 2) Content, and 3) Presentation. Both of those keynotes had outstanding scores from the attendees filling out the evaluations. I was surprised to see that the Grand Debate also had a rating that was right in line with these two great keynotes.

136 people rated this session in the conference evaluation. Many positive comments were made and there were many 5’s on the numerical ratings. However, amidst all the glowing comments and ratings, there were a couple of comments that stood out, in particular, this one:

  • “I’m tired of Barry Dahl – he’s just not as entertaining as he thinks he is – get rid of him!”

I don’t care how you slice it, that’s just mean. But for the record, I also think I’m better looking than I really am.

6 Responses

  1. I hate that the negative comments are the ones that make the most impression on us. At least you didn’t get: “The room was too (insert hot or cold),” “The chairs were too (insert hard or soft),” “They did not serve (insert Pepsi or Coke).”

    I’ve always found you to be AT LEAST as entertaining as you think you are!! You make me laugh and THINK when you blog or speak. 🙂

  2. The thing people don’t get about the grand debate is It’s Just A Debate! You’re supposed to be controversial and challenging. You’ve got your style, and if I were you, I’d keep it.

  3. I understand how you feel. There is always going to be a “Negative Nellie” (I can’t believe I just wrote that) in the crowd. But, just for a moment, let’s take their view. Let’s feel their pain for a moment…when everybody else is going “ah ha” and “oh, that’s cool”, they are going “this sucks” and “my life sucks”. They are basically saying, “I want your life to suck too” when they make those really nasty reviews. It’s a pity isn’t it?

  4. There’s an “All-I-needed-to-know-I-learned-in-kindergarten” sort of rule that I follow, personally.

    If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all, or if you feel compelled to say something less than nice, at least be willing to own it (and say it as nicely as possible 😉


  5. Barry –
    You are always delightful. Even after the 100th time. You have a very confident personna – some people are just threatened by that. I liked that you can share it – and laugh at yourself. We are all truly human.


  6. Hi Missy. Thanks for the comment. Delightful?? Hah, that’s as big an exaggeration as is the “100th time.” But still, I take it. You’re very kind. Human, indeed.

    Chris – I admit that I often say things that are not always received as being nice (I’m very P/A, or so I’ve been told) – but I am willing to stand behind my words. Still,your kindergarten reference is on target and words to live by.

    Evan – good point about taking another point of view. I’m usually an advocate for that, but didn’t seem to get there on this one.

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