Editor’s note: I will be away on holidays starting next month, so things will be a bit quiet here on the blog for the first couple of weeks in September.
A couple of weeks ago, I had attended an advanced instructor training where I was to present a track and then the trainer would give me feedback based on my presentation. It was very nerve-wracking and exhausting because I was so tired from not being able to sleep the night before. I was nervous right up until I actually received the results of the evaluation, which ended up being not as bad as I thought it was and was quite useful.
Receiving feedback can be a very scary thing, especially when it is in front of other people. I can only imagine how those people who compete on American Idol and Master Chef feel when they’ve given it their heart and soul. And this is done on television, sometimes in front of a live audience. Not only that, there are millions of people watching you from the comfort of their own home. Talk about pressure.
Getting feedback is a means to help you become better and grow. When you’re able to grow, you’re able to change. From time to time, it’s important to ask for it to determine what’s working and what isn’t. Believe it or not, there’s an art to giving feedback. There’s a wrong way to do it and a right way to do it. The key thing is to be constructive in your delivery.
I love and have no hesitation in asking for feedback from my mentor. Not only am I comfortable with her giving me feedback, it’s because she’s phenomenal in doing so. She does it in a way that doesn’t make you feel like crap and is very encouraging.
Feedback is often associated with an employee’s performance review. At previous jobs, I always felt intimidated and nervous about receiving feedback because I always would be hard on myself and think, I suck at my job, I’m not doing anything right.
There have been a few occasions where I have received some not so constructive feedback. It made me feel worse and that I wasn’t doing a good job. Nobody likes to receive negative feedback.
Asking for feedback takes a lot of courage. It is not the easiest thing to do. You’re putting yourself out there. You have no idea what the person on the other end will say. And if you’re like me, sometimes you assume the worst. But it’s important to know this -when you are asking for feedback from someone who’s a professional and is someone you trust, you are making a conscious decision to improve yourself. You’re telling yourself I want to get better at something, so I’m going to ask for feedback on how I can get better.
If you are the one who’s giving the feedback, be mindful of not only what you say it, but how you say it. The process of the feedback exchange is a delicate one. You never know how the person may react to it. The response can be negative or positive.When the exchange is done using an online platform, you have to be even more careful how you write it. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the tone in a message. Choose your words for your constructive criticism wisely.Rather than saying “You need to work on this or you should do this”, try using, “Focus on this…more”, “Put your effort into making this better”. Always mention what they are doing well and what is working, before mentioning what can be improved. Make sure to be specific about how they can improve.
It’s important to remind yourself that constructive criticism is a good thing and that you should ask for it from time to time. If you do receive some feedback in a way that you weren’t expecting, try not to let it get it to you. Try to see the positive in it. If you feel there was no positivity at all and you didn’t find the feedback helpful, let the person know. Give them some constructive criticism on how they should be giving feedback to others.
Businesses ask for their customer’s opinion all the time. They are constantly looking for ways to improve or to get ahead of their competition. How many times have you seen on the receipt the chance to win a gift card or discount if you complete their online survey?
If you do have an online business and/or site, conduct a survey. If you have a blog, ask your readers what they want to read about. If you don’t want to ask for feedback in public, why not ask your newsletter subscribers? How will you know whether or not you are giving them what they want? Their responses may be able to provide you with new content ideas or new products to sell.
People may be able to point out things that you never noticed before. It can open your eyes to a whole new world. Cue Aladdin and Jasmine duet here. Come to think of it, I think the majority of the lyrics could apply to giving and receiving feedback.