The rainbow has two ends and whatever you send out can come back to you.Thus the rainbow can help us understand the feedback we give and receive. Audience reactions can be read using the same seven Speak-the-Rainbow colors. Here are some clues to help you analyze performance feedback:
Red emotions – normally expressed post-performance and through past tense. Audiences tend to judge easily the past. Expressions like “Loved it!”, “Great stuff!” and signs like thumbs up or hearts drawn on evaluation forms are red signals just as are “Hated it” and scowling or frowning smileys. Your audience is expressing a dominant red emotional response. In most cases this information is pleasant to have but not particularly useful for knowing what worked well and what didn’t unless the person adds a touch of indigo depth eg. ” I loved the opening but you lost me in middle – and did not like the slides”.
Orange energy – warm applause, handshakes, pats on back, crossed arms, people leaning forward or leaning back, slumping in chair, sleeping..etc : Any energy displayed by your audience is valuable information. This energy can be cool or very warm. Energy is always present in your audience and needs to be reacted to and valued as indicator of the performance as it happens and after it happened.
Yellow joy – smiles, laughter, bright eyes, and smileys drawn on evalation forms. Like orange energy, Yellow joy can also be seen and heard during performance and after performance. Yellow joy is always positive and can be evaluated often in terms of volume too ie. the volume of clapping or laughter.
Green hope – This can be any encouraging feedback post-performance which sets up and helps prepare future performances. Expressions like “You are gonna go far”, “Your next speech will be better”, “You will get better”, annd “You are gonna rock it” are expressions of hope. This can be given in conditional too eg. “If you do this, you will succeed in …” Lessons and advice about how we can improve are extremely useful information, so keep attentive as few audience members give evaluations which include green hope.
Blue vision – This comes from people who share personal opinions from their unique viewpoint eg. “I would have done …”, “I can’t see the value of … “, “I feel you could …(here feel is not really an emotion, just a word to disguise a viewpoint). Sometimes this can be valid information to have but, unless this comes from a highly skilled coach you trust, you should not overvalue one opinion.
Indigo depth – This is more profound analysis like a structured response in three parts perhaps with reference to other sources, quotations, numbers, jargon to look serious, educated, deep. Can be very useful when delivered by someone you respect and who wants the best for you. Like green hope this is rare information to listen for and note.
Purple soul -These are the unseen connections which happen when someone gives feedback eg. synchronicity with other thoughts you might have had or heard, connections to other ideas like the citation of a book which you had heard about the day before. Or purple can be seen in the silences, shrugs, puzzled looks your audience gives you in return for your speech. Keep your eyes open for people expressing things which they can’t put words on through looks… their soul speaking for them. Purple will enter the performance if you do improv or workshop type exercises – you get immediate spontaneous purple reactions you must manage. Often you do this by channelling these reactions to other colors. -Orange, Yellow, or Red or structure them with an Indigo response.
The importance here is to see that evaluations and feedback can contain several colors and one color is not enough to judge your performance. Look for the flow of colors and what they reveal. If all your evaluations are smileys of Joy – great! But perhaps you did not provoke deeper and more varied reactions in your audience because you did not challenge yourself enough.