I’ve written elsewhere – and of course in The Feedback Book – about the importance of getting feedback. We could all do with more feedback, so long as it’s of the considered, clear and actionable kind.
We need to ask for feedback (at all or more often), particularly if the organisational culture doesn’t seem to value it, or if feedback is seen as a fancy name for dishing out criticism. We often need to help our feedback givers to articulate their feedback in ways that are useful, carefully questioning to get beyond their unhelpful labels and adjectives and into the actual behaviours. What’s more, we need to be in the right state to receive feedback.
We can also get feedback by practising self-review and reflection, to raise our awareness of how we did what we did, what worked and what we learned. For example, I take some time after every training workshop to think and write about how it went. And you could take this idea further – and actually have some fun with it. All it takes is a little imagination. For example, you can:
Create a Mind Map
No idea what a Mind Map is? Take a look at these examples, and here are some more, courtesy of Tony Buzan, who invented Mind Maps. You can create your Mind Map using an app (Buzan’s is called iMindMap). Whilst I find these great for creating images, for example for training handouts or visuals for posts/presentations, personally I prefer creating them by drawing and writing by hand (the tech can distract). Use lots of colour, visuals and symbols, with just a few words (not fully-formed sentences – leave something for the brain to play with). What Buzan believed when he came up with Mind Maps, and neuroscience has subsequently validated, is that our brains can generate thoughts and ideas that link and build in ways that may be obvious – and may also make random connections. Mind Maps quite literally do that too, visually.
Create a playlist
We’ve all got our ‘walk-on song’ – right? You know, the track that football teams have blaring out in the dressing room before they walk onto the pitch. Or the track playing in our heads when we feel good (or miserable). What songs would feature on your playlist for the work you’ve been doing recently?
Create a mood board
Grab a bunch of images that connect with you about how you handled that presentation, the progress you’ve made this quarter, your sales success, etc. Assemble them into a mood board or collage, whether digital or on paper.
What would X do?
So you stuffed up a presentation – what, in that situation, would Beyonce do? Or Ronaldo? Or Jane Austen? Or Superman? Or maybe you did a great job, got clearly praised, yet can’t quite believe it (imposter syndrome, anyone?). What would a random assembly of famous or fictitious characters do? Sometimes, it can really help to take a different perspective.
Write a tabloid front page
Lighten things up and get into tabloid editor mode. Aim for maximum newsstand impact, whether by shock tactics, proud fanfare or ridiculous puns. Throw in some quotes by ‘those in the know’ and you’ll be on your way.
Write yourself a letter
This can work a treat if you have a habit of beating up on yourself in your reflective practice – “must try harder!” Try writing yourself a letter.
There are heaps of variants for doing this; you can write a letter:
- From your future self to your present self – especially if your future self has advice to give.
- From your much younger self. You know those zingers kids come up with, like “well of course they put a plaster on it, otherwise my brains would have all fallen out!!” -? Try a few of those from a much younger you about whatever you need some feedback on now.
- From a wise and caring friend. What words of wisdom and compassion would they offer? What would they say to put what happened in context and help you see it – and yourself – more positively?
Let me know how you get on.