• Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint


After all your preparation, I'd really like to tell you that your class will now automatically fill to overflowing with enthusiastic participants sent by supportive managers. It might. More likely, however, you will encounter some resistance. Work at understanding this resistance and at listening carefully to feedback you get. Even negative comments—especially negative comments— can provide you with insights that build your own communication and training skills. Many of the basic guidelines for receiving feedback apply here, just as they do in a presentation skills class.

Feedback Guidelines

  • Develop feedback-receptive attitudes. Embrace the criticism. Then you know what to fix.

  • Listen carefully to comments. Get all of it. Fight the urge to defend your proposal, at least until you have heard everything the person is saying.

  • Take notes in detail. Write down both positives and negatives, noting questions and disagreements. This is my personal trick to keep me busy so I won't act defensive.

  • Ask for specific information. Ask for examples and try the phrase, "Please tell me more." (This is a tough one—we may not want "more" unless it's positive!) Use the reflective technique to gain more information; for example, "This is what I hear you saying...."

  • Paraphrase to confirm meaning. Your perceptions may not be consistent with your evaluator's intentions. For example, "I don't have time for this" could refer to the training classes but may also mean "I have another meeting and can't read this now."

  • Notice nonverbal messages. If a person frowns or leans back, stop your pitch and ask about their concerns. It's easier to respond immediately than to let them be distracted by negative thoughts. (And there's always the possibility that that frown is just indigestion.)

  • Correct in the direction of the evaluation. Remember, a small correction in the right direction is usually both more appropriate and more feasible. For example, feedback such as "I don't need this" may mean that your reader considers a presentation to be a written document that is read from behind a podium in front of hundreds of people. You can clarify the definition of presentation rather than starting over or quitting altogether.

  • Recognize that your audience's perceptions are reality for them. Resist the temptation to reject comments or "correct" perceptions with which you disagree. Respond with appropriate information without discounting their perceptions.

  • Say "thank you." It is easier to just leave your proposal in the in-basket than to give you feedback on it. Appreciate the time that your colleagues afford you.



Not a subscriber?

Start A Free Trial

  • Creative Edge
  • Create BookmarkCreate Bookmark
  • Create Note or TagCreate Note or Tag
  • PrintPrint