Too often small business owners and professionals avoid feedback out of fear they won’t like what they’ll hear. This is a mistake. For it is only through feedback that we can ensure we are on the right track and making progress.
Do you seek feedback as part of your plan for achieving success?
For ten years I had the pleasure and privilege to be a part of a Toastmasters’ club. If you’re not familiar with Toastmasters they’re an organization dedicated to developing effective communicators. As an eager and willing member I looked forward to every role available. This ranged from giving a speech, evaluating speeches, giving a toast, telling a joke, answering Table Topics, being the Toastmaster, etc.
Why, because every role came with an opportunity to receive feedback on my performance. Think about it. Not only did you receive valuable feedback on your performance as a speaker but the person giving the feedback also was evaluated on their performance. Besides the audience, three members received an opportunity to develop their skills.
You as a speaker would receive not just the visual and auditory feedback you got from your audience as you gave the talk but you’d also get in written form. Each person in the audience would write down their thoughts on your speech or performance. In addition to that you’d have a member of the club specifically assigned to evaluate your talk and give an oral report on it.
It was a very valuable experience. The goal after all was to improve as a speaker so you wanted to know what aspects of your talk were effective and what areas could be strengthened.
The people given the role of providing the feedback also gained from the experience. They had to develop the skill of listening closely so that they could give you valuable feedback and deliver it to you and the rest of the group in a manner that everyone benefited.
As a professional speaker and workshop facilitator I’ve received thousands of feedback or comment forms. When I read them to see if there were any areas the audience thought I could improve my performance or delivery, I looked for multiples. If the criticism were from only one person (unless it was an exceptional speaker) I would ignore it. If several people were making similar comments then I would take it seriously.
If you are serious about improving as a communicator, marketer, salesperson, manager or whatever your role may be, then you’ll need have a way to get honest and knowledgeable feedback. If you don’t the consequences could be you performing far below your potential. Remember feedback is the breakfast of champions.