This week I’ve been thinking about how best to ask for/ receive feedback.
When doing something you want to improve in it’s generally seen as a good idea to have a “feedback rich environment” where people feel comfortable sharing feedback with you so you, and you feel comfortable hearing it.
Often simple things can prevent this feedback from happening, but with a bit of thought, these blockers can be removed so much more is being shared.
What would make you ignore feedback?
I listened to an interview with someone talking about the best way to create a feedback rich environment. The key, he said, was to first identify all the reasons you would dismiss feedback that was given to you.
Often people say things like “I don’t care, give me any feedback, any time!”.
For me, at least, that doesn’t work. If I’m being honest, there are a number of things that will turn me off from best receiving feedback. For example:
- If it’s said in a mean way: I’ll close off to the person if I feel their main intent is to make me feel bad
- If we’re in the middle of working on something else: unless it’s mega urgent, I’d prefer to discuss it once we’ve solved whatever problem etc. we’re working on
- (Often) if there is no evidence: I find it much easier to understand things if there’s an example of what I’ve done
I realised that I’m OK with receiving feedback that “comes out messy” i.e. I don’t want there to be a barrier of formulating something into words. Even if it’s “more of a feeling”, that’s still valid, in my book.
Anyway, the interviewee described these as “feedback filters”. He said how they are good to know about yourself so you can share them with those you are asking feedback with.
The other reason I’ve been thinking about feedback is that I’ve been fortunate to get some really good, critical feedback on a podcast interview I recorded recently.
I didn’t share these feedback filters of mine, but the people who gave their thoughts did so in a way where I became receptive and, looking back at it, ticked all the boxes.
It was also much more insightful than I imagined and was able to put into words some vague feelings I had. I’m very grateful for the help they all gave.
Asking reverse questions
More broadly, the principle of adopting the hypothetical stance of why you wouldn’t do something seems to be a good way to identify some traits or beliefs that you haven’t needed to question for a while.
To me, at least, he negative stance (why would you not do something) brings more incision than, for example, why would you do something.
It seems like this could be applied across other domains/ behaviours. For me, why am I not exercising enough even though I have more free time etc. etc.
Anyway, as always, let me know if you have thoughts/ ideas on the above!
In other news…
I’ve been trying to do a better job recently of remembering people’s birthdays.
I used to check Facebook daily which meant there was always a timely reminder. Now that I’m rarely using FB I realised I wasn’t wishing HB to many of my friends.
The solution I’ve tried is:
- Spend ~30 minutes going through friends’ birthdays on Facebook
- Adding a “Birthdays” calendar on Google Calendar
- Creating an event for each person in that calendar on their birthday that recurs annually
- Utilising the Birthday field through Google Contacts seemed too much of a faff
It’s not perfect (not everyone shares this info on Facebook) but has found it to be better than nothing.
This post originally featured in the newsletter I write. If you’d like to sign up to receive it at the start of each month, you can do so below: