Don’t Make this Stupid Mistake: #11 Fail to Encourage Feedback

September 8, 2009

Here’s the situation:  Jack Simms, owner of a speaker’s bureau had booked a speaker to give an inspirational talk for faculty and staff as a new school year began.  Jack, attending the talk, received a signal from a key administrator to cut the talk short.  The speaker was boring his audience and was completely unaware!

Here’s the stupid mistake:  Although Jack tactfully informed the speaker that his presentation did not go well, the speaker did not encourage further feedback.  Jack, a successful speaker at an international level, was prepared to give this individual some very valuable feedback and advice.  Because the speaker didn’t welcome the feedback, he missed a golden opportunity to improve!

Here’s the solution:  Feedback is a priceless gift, especially constructive feedback that points out how you can improve.  It’s a priceless gift because most people we encounter feel too uncomfortable to give anything but praise.  Express appreciation for feedback; welcome the information  and ask for details; and remain non-defensive.  Reflect on the  the feedback later and ask others if the message is valid.  occasionally a person will provide feedback with a desire to hurt or offend, and you’ll quickly know the difference.  Remember that not everyone has the skill to deliver feedback tactfully.  This doesn’t detract from the value–it just makes the message harder to receive!