Feedback: How? When? And who for? A video chat with Nadia (2/3)

In the previous post and video conversation (which Nadia also covered with some additional insights here), we looked at what feedback is, wondered why it is so both intimidating, difficult to get started with, and simultaneously powerful and desirable.

In this second video chat on the single most important little learning practice we can do socially, we get a wee bit more technical, on how to give and how to receive feedback.

See Nadia’s latest post on this here: She rightly invites us all to give feedback with care and compassion, and in conversation.

And with that come the questions of who the feedback is given for, when it’s given, and to what extent…

(We know your time is limited, so we gave the timings of various turns in our conversation in the description, below the video. Go directly watch what is tickling your curiosity).

Who is it really for?

We have to be well aware of who we are giving the feedback for,

Is it for ourselves, to offload our chest and feel better because we really got annoyed, rattled, ruffled, rubbed in the wrong way by what someone said or did? Or just can’t help pointing ‘improvables’ to others?

Is it because we want to help the other person see their blind spots? Will they actually benefit from this feedback? Are they even eager to learn, in general or on this particular aspect of feedback? Is the relationship balanced enough or will the feedback hit the ‘relationship trigger’ that Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen unravelled in their seminal book?

Is it in order to contribute to a better relationship altogether? Is it perhaps even part of a well-oiled mutual feedback routine which helps sharpen each other and build trust for each other as ‘the other pair of eyes kindly watching my back’? Is there indeed a hidden invitation to reciprocate?

It’s never a bad idea to reflect first on who your feedback really helps – at this point, or on this point.

The timing, pacing and amount of feedback

And then comes another key element in the feedback dance: When, how long, how much?

Give that feedback too early, or uninvited, and you may clamp your partner, Give it too late and it no longer carries the same power.

Give too much of it and you might injure your relationship. Give not enough of it and the message may not be perceived well. It’s like this classical table of understanding the British art of understatement (a cultural point in case when it comes to feedback):

Image credit: The Independent

Answering the ‘who for’ question is closely linked to the timing and pacing of feedback. Indeed, some say that ‘wisdom’ is not about knowing the right things, but knowing when to share or apply them. We all live according to different biological rhythms, and though we all share the fact we live in a fast-paced world, yet we are affected by it differently; we choose to cope with it differently. Ditto with our learning. Effective feedback comes in the right measure, at the right time.

That means getting a good grip on the inclination for feedback of the receiver, and on their timing preferences.

And while you might have observed many things worthy of pointing out, the receiver may not be ready to receive all of that either. So perhaps choose according to the personal preferences of the receiver. And if your conversation invites it, you may be able to cover more, or most, or perhaps even all points of feedback. But double check how all of that information affected the other person.

Get feedback on how you just gave feedback 😉

With a sharp ‘feedback opportunity radar’, some measure of sound technical advice, and a perspective of caring, compassion and mutual learning, you will – together – go a long way 😉

In the third, and final video chat about feedback, we’ll elevate the conversation to the collective dimension of feedback: how to start, grow, and stimulate a culture of feedback.

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