As coaches and managers we often spend time learning how to give feedback, learn ways to make the message hit the mark, consider our impact; but very little attention is given to what the receiver of the feedback should do to prepare.
How often do we listen to feedback and either internally or externally begin to dismiss the message by saying: ‘it was nothing, it really wasn’t that difficult, I had lots of help, I could have done it better, you’re just saying that to be kind’….(and I’m sure you have plenty more). Most people react to positive feedback in an embarrassed or passive way, not really wanting to hear that they’ve done well by someone else.
After all, we’ve got our own inner critic who will tell us the truth – right? Well actually wrong. Most of us are more critical on ourselves than anyone would ever dare to be, so by listening to someone else giving us feedback is more likely to be objective, balanced, positively intended and a truer reflection on our personal abilities and skills.
There may be a myriad of reasons as to what stops us from really hearing the praise, a long-held belief, or an inherited attitude from someone we have admired. Whatever the reason, there are some simple solutions that can help us to open our listening and allow the praise and positive feedback to really sink in.
Here are my 10 top tips:
- Listen with an open mind, open heart and open will.
- Don’t interrupt or offer a comeback (‘it was nothing…. Etc.)
- Pay attention to your body language. How are you ‘showing’ you are listening and receiving the information well? Are you sitting / standing in an open posture? How relaxed or tense is your face?
- Try nodding in agreement as you listen – you’ll not only be signalling to the speaker that you are listening and agreeing, you will also be telling your unconscious self that you agree too.
- Put your attention on the other person, by focusing on them and their intention will help you to quieten your inner critic.
- When your ‘ah but’ voice starts speaking, come up with some cunning ways that will shut the voice down (try shushing it, squishing it, covering it up – the more real the voice becomes an entity, the more fun you will have at disarming it).
- Show appreciation for what has been said, even if you don’t agree, by saying ‘thank you’ or ‘that is good to know’. Choose the words that feel right for you and practice in your head saying them to make sure they feel right.
- Listen to the praise and just smile. The more you smile the more endorphins and serotonin you release into your body, which naturally makes you feel good.
- Breath in the praise and imagine storing the positive feedback in a special feedback box in your stomach, holding it there with other positive messages of praise. By visualising your personal feedback box, it then becomes a resource for you to tap into when you are feeling worried about something similar in the future.
- Finally, pick one word that the speaker says that either sums up the positive feedback or for you was most memorable and capture it by writing it down or saying it to yourself for the rest of the day.