Friday, October 3, 2014

How to Give Feedback so the Other Person Hears Both the Positive and the Negative

by Ann Abbott

Fridays are "Consulting Workshop" days in my Business Spanish class.

(Reminder: my Business Spanish students are doing the social media marketing on Facebook for La Línea. There have been challenges, mostly because I was strapped for time to do the careful, intense editing that the posts need before being published. I´ll write about that another day.)

I had planned to teach them about preparing original images instead of always using things they find online. I was going to show them how to do images using PowerPoint (like the one above), PicMonkey and Canva.

Instead, I realized that I needed to use that time for editing: for them to edit each other!

First of all, I knew that if we didn´t use today´s class time for editing, I might not find the time after class. That would put us behind on posting again.

Secondly, I wanted them to go through the experience of looking at a post with ¨fresh¨ eyes. To see a post for the first time and analyze your reaction to it. Were you confused by something? Did a typo stick out like a sore thumb to you? Did you feel like the written text and the image didn´t go together? Did you see a chance to include some other relevant information? If the post told you to send a message, did it also tell you how to send that message?

It´s so hard to edit our own work. It´s all perfectly clear in our heads, so we don´t see what is missing from the writing.

So, each team had to analyze another team´s posts (unpublished, but shared in our course wiki) and give them feedback.

As I heard them give feedback, I heard things like (in Spanish), ¨Your post is really good, but...¨ ¨I like the picture, but...¨

At the end of the feedback sessions I told them what I had heard and suggested that they say this instead:
  • ¨Your post is really good, and I think you should add La Línea´s phone number.¨
  • ¨I like the picture, and I think a picture with people in it would convey your message even more strongly.¨
  • ¨Your message is very compelling, and there are some grammar mistakes in Spanish that need to be corrected.
When you use the word ¨but,¨ it often feels like it cancels out what you just previously said. It cancels out the good stuff!

If you use the word ¨and,¨ you are simply offering additional information to the positive information you just gave.

This is very valuable! Whether your talking to your boyfriend-girlfriend, your employees, your potential client, your mother, your students, whomever. 

And it´s very simple! Just change one word. Just use and instead of but. In Spanish, use y (thus, the ¨y¨ in the photo at the top) instead of pero.

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