Being open to receiving feedback is the only way to have a better picture of your performance as a presenter or speaker. Combining self-analysis with the feedback of your audience or peers is your opportunity to better understand your strengths as a presenter and what resonated well with your audience.
It may be a bit more uncomfortable to look at things that did not go well or receive feedback that’s judgmental, biased, or otherwise laden with emotion. In the second chapter of this book, you learned about self-awareness. When receiving and making sense of feedback, it is very important to be self-aware and honest with yourself. This honesty will help you distinguish between an environmental situation, a situation that lies with the audience member, or a situation with the presenter.
We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve. – Bill Gates
The Art of Receiving Feedback
Most people are not born with a love of receiving feedback, however, we can learn to love receiving feedback. Receiving feedback is a wonderful way to truly learn about yourself and grow into the person you want to be.
Joe Hrisch helps us all see The Joy of Getting Feedback in his Ted Talk below.
Some guidelines for learning to love receiving feedback.
- Be Open and Accept Someone Else’s Perspective: In order for someone’s feedback to help you grow and develop personally and professionally, you must be open to hearing and accepting what they have to say.
- Embrace the Discomfort: Receiving feedback can be uncomfortable, accepting that, and embracing it allows you to get the most of out of the feedback someone gives you.
- Ask for More Information, Examples, and Clarifying Questions: Don’t hesitate to dig into the feedback. Ask questions to make sure that you understand the feedback, that you get really clear about how you can improve, and seek out examples of where you do great and where you have room for improvement.
- Remember – Feedback Doesn’t Mean You Suck: Everyone has something to improve upon. Having someone in your life willing to give you feedback and help you grow is a privilege. Embrace the feedback, don’t take it personally or to heart as a reflection that you are terrible at your job or a terrible person. Feedback is simply an opportunity to grow and improve who you are.
Giving formal feedback to yourself
Don’t forget, you can also give yourself feedback. Self-evaluation can be difficult, because people may think their performance was effective and therefore doesn’t need critique, or they may become their own worst critic, which can negatively affect self-efficacy. The key to effective self-evaluation is to identify strengths and weaknesses, to evaluate yourself within the context of the task, and to set concrete goals for future performance. What follows are guidelines relevant for students’ self-evaluation of their speeches.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses. We have a tendency to be our own worst critics, so steer away from nit-picking or over focusing on one aspect of your performance that really annoys or stands out to you. It is likely that the focus of your criticism wasn’t nearly as noticeable to others, or even noticed at all. For example, a student wrote a self-critique of which about 90 percent focused on how his face looked red. Although that was really salient for him when he watched his video, it wasn’t a big deal for the audience members.
- Evaluate yourself within a context. If you are asked to speak about your personal life in a creative way, don’t spend the majority of your self-evaluation critiquing your use of gestures. People have a tendency to overanalyze certain aspects of their performance, which usually only accounts for a portion of their overall effectiveness or productiveness, and underanalyze other elements that have significant importance.
- Set goals for next time. Goal setting is important because most of us need a concrete benchmark against which to evaluate our progress. Once goals are achieved, they can be “checked off” and added to our ongoing skill set, which can enhance confidence and lead to the achievement of more advanced goals.
- Revisit goals and assess progress at regular intervals. We will not always achieve the goals we set so it is important to revisit the goals periodically to assess our progress. If you did not meet a goal, figure out why, and create an action plan to try again. If you did achieve a goal, try to build on that confidence to meet future goals.
“5.4 Listenable Messages and Effective Feedback” from Communication in the Real World by University of Minnesota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
“Receiving Formal Feedback” from Making Conflict Suck Less: The Basics by Ashley Orme Nichols is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
“Receiving Feedback” from Professional Communications OER Olds College OER Development Team is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.