HR Forum


Putting more 'bite' into feedback getting

Question:

I am at a loss when it comes to my improvement as I do not know where to zero in on the feedback given to me as it is pretty general in nature. One person who confuses me a lot is my boss.

He keeps saying that my presentation skills need to be polished; saying that dealers (and him included) whom I often have to present, complain that my products and sales presentation to them are pretty dry, monotonous and uninteresting, and require major overhaul. Please advise me on where I should focus for my improvement.


Answer:

I have to give my views on three people here; you, your boss and I. As for you who are the eventual winner or loser, the ball is really in your court for you to take control of what you really want to know from your boss or any other person.

As for your boss, he may be a poor feedback giver who rather talks in general terms rather than delving into the specifics of what he exactly means.

As for me, it will be most unfair (and perhaps dangerous) to read his mind to tell you what he means.

Always remember that meanings are in people. His understanding and my understanding of what is ‘dry’, ‘monotonous’ and ‘uninteresting’ may be poles apart.

Of all the three persons mentioned, it is YOU who needs to do more than any of the two.

‘Assertiveness’ is what you need in all situations. Rather than you sulk over it, complain over it, or get someone to do the work for you, you need to be strong to express your frank views to him with confidence and not fear that he will be offended.

So face up to him and ask what he means, specify the areas and give examples of it and even ask him how he suggests that this can be improved.

On another score, you can also get your capable and reliable friends or colleagues to do the same for you. Specify what you want them to watch out for.

These could be: your friendliness, sense of humour, message clarity and organisation of thoughts, etc. Once you get the specific areas of feedback, act on them straightaway when the ‘heat’ is still on. I am sure when you can manage feedback in this manner, you will know where you are heading, and the way forward for you is surely towards becoming a successful and dynamic speaker!


QUESTIONS YOU CAN ASK YOURSELF

• What part does being a good public presenter play in your career success? • What does this require you to do? • What are you doing about it to move forward towards this goal? • Who can you count on to support you in getting this goal, and what do you want them to do?


Article by Dr Michael Heah, an ICF Credentialed Coach with www.corporate-coachacademy.com

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