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Why feedback is a gift

 In Message creation

In this third week for CIOs who want to BTO (Be The One) to work with, the focus is: Feedback is a gift. In effect, this means that you’re getting something of value when others give you feedback. This ‘Feedback is a gift’ idea was shared by a senior executive, at a recent roundtable meeting I was facilitating.

The idea aligns with the messages of Geoff Colvin in his landmark book, Talent is Overrated. What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everyone Else (Penguin Group, 2008). Colvin maintains that top performers in any field seek out objective feedback about how they can improve.

You get objective feedback in two ways. Through other people observing you and giving you feedback on how you did and how you can do better, and through video and/or audio recording yourself, and then watching/listening to the playback.

In my work with my CIO clients, I find that taking a risk and asking for feedback, or video recording themselves and watching the feedback, is tough for them to do. (It’s tough for most people).

For example, I regularly offer my best CIO clients a complimentary one on one consultation that includes  video-recording them in various interaction and presentation scenarios. Clients who do enrol for this consultation report that it is of high worth. In the consultation, after the various interactions/short presentation ‘performances’, the person and I together watch the video playback. I deconstruct how the person performed and how they could do better. Then I give them the video clips on a USB device so they can continue to review and learn from the clips.

Few CIOs take up this offer.

The reasons for not taking up the offer could include: a. they don’t think they need to improve b. it would be too confronting c. they want to improve but don’t think I’m the right person to help them d. they’re time poor e. it’s a low priority for them, etc.

The key message for this post is: Make the time and have the courage to ask a trusted person(s) to observe you in a meeting or presentation and give you private feedback on your performance.

What to do in the next seven days: Commit to contacting a trusted person and ask them to observe you in an upcoming presentation and after the presentation to give you feedback on a specific area. The area could be on how you opened the interaction/presentation, or the energy and certainty in your voice, or how you owned the physical space, or how you handled the Q&A, or the structure of your presentation, or if you shared a clear, concise key message/call to action.

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p.s. Last Sunday, in a brief interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s news broadcast, with ABC’s political editor, Mark Simkin – Australian Labour Party’s new leader, Bill Shorten came across as scripted and uninspiring. This is unfortunate for Shorten  – it being of one his first major, media appearances as leader. It will be memorable, but in a negative way.

My read on Shorten is this. He has developed a firm, hand-on-the-tiller, control of his words, voice, face and body language. So much so, that he’s deadened any freshness in his delivery that could come from spontaneity in the moment. There’s no spark to draw in the listener. He’s speaking words from an internal cue card of what has been ‘focused group checked’ for optimum ratings.  The latent impact of this type of presentation on an audience, is that Shorten doesn’t want the audience to see his true self – only the airbrushed version.

p.p.s. On 28 October, I’ll deliver a presentation at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Sydney, for the Australian Computer Society entitled, Mind if I listen in? Fresh networking and body language techniques that pay-off. Following is the link to the event. If you can attend, I’d love for you to be in the audience.  https://www.acs.org.au/branches/new-south-wales/events/upcoming-events/event-details?eveID=30271888213925

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