12 Tips for Receiving Feedback

Feedback

Seth Godin is the author of several books about “marketing, the spread of ideas and managing both customers and employees with respect”. They are bestsellers. His blog is one of my favourites and I highly recommend it. This post is part of a series based on original posts by Seth.

In his blog post from 11 January 2014, Seth discussed something that every public speaker wants—applause—and something every public speaker should want—feedback.

Applause is important for a speaker. It is the best way in which the members of an audience can show their collective appreciation for the speaker’s efforts. It is welcome recompense for a speaker at the end of a talk or presentation, and it is a motivational shot in the arm for the next time.
And then there is feedback. It’s not always easy to hear, and sometimes it’s going to sting a bit, but if you want to grow as a speaker, feedback—and appropriate action on your part—is vital.

Here are 12 tips when it comes to feedback:

  1. Realize that fedback is an important part of your growth as a speaker.
  1. Ask for feedback.
  1. Accept the fact that the feedback you get will not always be the feedback that you were hoping for.
  1. If there is a particular aspect of your speaking which you would like to improve, ask one or two people before you speak to look out for it (e.g., talking too fast; making eye contact, etc.).
  1. Create a short (one-page) form for audience members to complete after your talk. It could be as simple as two questions: (a) What did you like most about the talk? (b) What are your suggestions for improvement?
  1. Filter the feedback. Separate the constructive criticism from that which is not.
  1. Even if, at first blush, you don’t agree with the constructive criticism, don’t dismiss it out of hand. Sometimes things take a while to sink in. Take some time to think about it.
  1. Video yourself so that you can compare your performance to the feedback.
  1. Realize that people have different opinions. What might be problematic for one person might not have even registered with another.
  1. Take on board the feedback that you consider valid and useful. If in doubt, get a second or third opinion from people who have seen you speak.
  1. Act on the feedback. Take concrete steps to improve.
  1. Don’t try to fix everything at once, especially if there are several areas for improvement. Much better to prioritize and start with the most important items on the list.

———

The Feedback You’ve Been Waiting For

by Seth Godin

“You did a great job. This is exactly what I was hoping for. I wouldn’t change a thing. You completely nailed it, it’s fabulous.”

Of course, that’s not feedback, really. It’s applause.

Applause is great. We all need more of it.

But if you want to improve, you should actively seek feedback. And that feedback, if it’s more than just carping, will be constructive. It will clearly and generously lay out ways you can more effectively delight your customers and create a remarkable experience that leads to ever more customers.

If you’re afraid of that feedback, it’s probably not going to arrive as often as you’d like it to. On the other hand, if you embrace it as the gift it can be, you may decide to go looking for it.

Empty criticism and snark does no one any good. But genuine, useful, insightful feedback is a priceless gift.

Applause is good too.

Like the article? Help and spread the word!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

4 Replies to “12 Tips for Receiving Feedback”

  1. Some great tips in this list – thanks for sharing, John.
    I especially like #7 (“take some time”) and #10 (“get a 2nd or 3rd opinion”).
    Most of the feedback I gather is about online learning, rather than talks, but I’d say very similar guidelines apply.
    If you’re looking for more ideas on this, Charles Greene has published the great questions he uses on his own feedback form, and recently Sheila Robinson shared a neat way to ask people how they felt during a session. I’ve linked to both of their posts from my blog:
    https://bitly.com/Re37UM

  2. Recently I found a great video on receiving feedback, by Josh Shipp.
    One of the things Josh said that I really liked relates to #9 on your list: “You are not as good as your good feedback, and you’re also not as bad as your bad feedback.”
    (Mind you, on the link, I also wrote a rant about getting some unsolicited and often unhelpful feedback at Toastmasters!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Testimonials

John delivered a keynote address about the importance of public speaking to 80 senior members of Gore’s Medical Device Europe team at an important sales event. He was informative, engaging and inspirational. Everyone was motivated to improve their public speaking skills. Following his keynote, John has led public speaking workshops for Gore in Barcelona and Munich. He is an outstanding speaker who thinks carefully about the needs of his audience well before he steps on stage.

Karsta Goetze

TA Leader, Gore and Associates

I first got in touch with John while preparing to speak at TED Global about my work on ProtonMail. John helped me to sharpen the presentation and get on point faster, making the talk more focused and impactful. My speech was very well received, has since reached almost 1.8 million people and was successful in explaining a complex subject (email encryption) to a general audience.

Andy Yen

CEO, Proton Technologies

John gave the opening keynote on the second day of our unit’s recent offsite in Geneva, addressing an audience of 100+ attendees with a wealth of tips and techniques to deliver powerful, memorable presentations. I applied some of these techniques the very next week in an internal presentation, and I’ve been asked to give that presentation again to senior management, which has NEVER happened before. John is one of the greatest speakers I know and I can recommend his services without reservation.

David Lindelöf

Senior Data Scientist, Expedia Group

After a morning of team building activities using improvisation as the conduit, John came on stage to close the staff event which was organised in Chamonix, France. His energy and presence were immediately felt by all the members of staff. The work put into the preparation of his speech was evident and by sharing some his own stories, he was able to conduct a closing inspirational speech which was relevant, powerful and impactful for all at IRU. The whole team left feeling engaged and motivated to tackle the 2019 objectives ahead. Thank you, John.

Umberto de Pretto

Secretary General, World Road Transport Organization

I was expecting a few speaking tips and tricks and a few fun exercises, but you went above and beyond – and sideways. You taught me to stand tall. You taught me to anchor myself. You taught me to breathe. You taught me to open up. You taught me to look people in the eye. You taught me to tell the truth. You taught me to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I got more than I bargained for in the best possible way.

Thuy Khoc-Bilon

World Cancer Day Campaign Manager, Union for International Cancer Control

John gave a brilliant presentation on public speaking during the UN EMERGE programme in Geneva (a two days workshop on leadership development for a group of female staff members working in the UN organizations in Geneva). His talk was inspirational and practical, thanks to the many techniques and tips he shared with the audience. His teaching can dramatically change our public speaking performance and enable us as presenters to have a real and powerful impact. Thank you, John, for your great contribution!

Sara Canna

HR Specialist, World Health Organization

John is a genuine communication innovator. His seminars on gamification of public speaking learning and his interactive Rhetoric game at our conference set the tone for change and improvement in our organisation. The quality of his input, the impact he made with his audience and his effortlessly engaging style made it easy to get on board with his core messages and won over some delegates who were extremely skeptical as to the efficacy of games for learning. I simply cannot recommend him highly enough.

Thomas Scott

National Education Director, Association of Speakers Clubs UK

John joined our Global Sales Meeting in Segovia, Spain and we all participated in his "Improv(e) your Work!" session. I say “all” because it really was all interactive, participatory, learning and enjoyable. The session surprised everybody and was a fresh-air activity that brought a lot of self-reflection and insights to improve trust and confidence in each other inside our team. It´s all about communication and a good manner of speaking!"

Jon Lopez

General Manager Europe, Hayward Industries

Thank you very much for the excellent presentation skills session. The feedback I received was very positive. Everyone enjoyed the good mix of listening to your speech, co-developing a concrete take-away and the personal learning experience. We all feel more devoted to the task ahead, more able to succeed and an elevated team spirit. Delivering this in a short time, both in session and in preparation, is outstanding!

Henning Dehler

CFO European Dairy Supply Chain & Operations, Danone

Thanks to John’s excellent workshop, I have learned many important tips and techniques to become an effective public speaker. John is a fantastic speaker and teacher, with extensive knowledge of the field. His workshop was a great experience and has proven extremely useful for me in my professional and personal life.

Eric Thuillard

Senior Sales Manager, Sunrise Communications

John’s presentation skills training was a terrific investment of my time. I increased my skills in this important area and feel more comfortable when speaking to an audience. John provided the right mix between theory and practice.

Diego Brait

Director of the Jura Region, BKW Energie AG

Be BOLD. Those two words got stuck in my head and in the heads of all those ADP leaders and associates that had the privilege to see John on stage. He was our keynote speaker at our annual convention in Barcelona, and his message still remains! John puts his heart in every word. Few speakers are so credible, humble and yet super strong with large audiences!

Guadalupe Garcia

Senior Director and Talent Partner, ADP International