Feedback: Is It Good Or Bad?

You’ll be amazed at how many people are averse to getting a feedback after their presentation or a lecture delivered in front of a group of attendees. The smart ones, of course will take whatever feedback or review they can get. They know it will help improve the effectiveness of whatever it is they’d want to impart in their future presentations.

The thing with good, old fashioned feedback is that it’s typically associated with something negative. Most persons would perceive it as a criticism, something painful. It’s seen as something that says “You didn’t perform well enough.” Or worse, “You weren’t good enough.” And yet, the whole purpose of a feedback is precisely to provide some personal reflection on how you fared with your presentation and to create an opportunity for some self-improvement. Heck, some feedback can pretty well say “That was a terrific presentation,” period. So, wouldn’t that help you see the good side of an honest feedback?

In any case, with many of us still associating stigma with feedback, it should help to use our social intelligence to bring about a more positive and useful perspective from any kind of feedback.

Here are some realities about feedback that’ll help us to understand its dynamics and expunge its negative implications:

  1. People put more importance on feedback when it comes from individuals they know, a colleague at work, a peer or a boss. The operative phrase here is “mutual respect.” When a feedback comes from someone “like us” or a friend who respects us rather than a foe, it becomes easier to accept the feedback whether it’s good or bad.
  2. When the feedback is about the process or content and not the person, the pill is usually easier to swallow. Doing this will have the recipient see the feedback not as a personal attack and therefore not react in an emotional way, in anger or defensive behavior. The last thing you’d like to happen is to create resentment or a grudge in the other person.
  3. The person giving a feedback should be empathetic. Be aware of the other guy’s mood and demeanor. The poor man may be going through bad times (financial troubles, death in the family, etc) and telling him his performance isn’t as good as it could be, could cause his confidence to go further downward.
  4. Put some focus on the future. Generally when giving feedback we’re so much into what happened in the past. Envisioning how things could be positively different in the future could provide the push for a favorable change.

These are some guides that should help in giving more encouraging feed back to your team members. Remember though to give them a big pat on the back as well when they’re doing a great job. It’s easy picking someone for poor performance but give credit where and when it’s due. It makes everybody feel good when given the chance to rise above others and shine.

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