How do you get your point across in a way that helps others listen?
Has this ever happened to you?
You provide feedback that is critical for the success of an initiative only to be met with resistance and feedback about your communication style versus someone listening and focusing on the problem at hand? I used to get this feedback regularly from a director that I worked for. It was so frustrating to me; it made me feel that she cared more about how I sounded and looked in front of others, versus what the actual problem was. Which obviously was not me. I used to think to myself, if people took what I said less personal, we would be able to move on and execute faster.
In a perfect world, this would be great, but in the real world, it just doesn’t work like that. Even though the feedback was tough to hear at the time, looking back, I know why it was given to me and like I always say feedback is a gift. If this has ever happened to you, then you know exactly what I am talking about.
Delivery is everything. Think about it when a customer walks into your store how and what you say matters. When you meet someone for the first time, your first impression counts. Sit through an interview, and of course, it matters.
So why then would we get upset or blow off the feedback when it’s given? If it is provided with positive intent to improve our communication skills. The first time I was given this feedback, I was taken back that they didn’t want to talk about the actual issue. Over time I have found that when I present critical feedback, it’s also helpful to provide a few solutions.
Becoming an executive and having to present high-level strategy and put everything my team was working on into two pages was such a challenge for me at the beginning. However, when I mastered this, I found that my feedback was well received, and we were able to execute faster and improve and solve significant issues together.
I read a book called “To Sell is Human” by Daniel H.Pink about five years ago now, it was given to me as a development tool in my first director role. And after reading this book, I realized that when we present, give feedback or discuss anything in a meeting or build a strategy we are selling at some point in the process. Whether we know it or not selling is a massive part of our daily communication. To improve your communication and lower resistance to you when providing feedback that may be perceived as unfavourable.
Use the following tips and see how this changes how others receive your feedback.
- Identify, build, or create areas of common ground with others.
- Choose an influencing style that fits the situation.
- Learn how to match your influencing style to the person and situation, learn to flex your style.
- Always ask others about the situation versus making assumptions about it.
- Do not sacrifice the relationship to win the argument.
- Remember that listening is a critical component of influencing communication.
- Determine when cooperation will be more effective than the competition.
- And remember that people like positive people, so make sure you come across as positive and that you are not judging or condemning others in the process of providing feedback.
- Be known by your senior leadership team as someone who is knowledgable, a team player, delivers results and ideas that improve the organization.
If you are the person on the other end of this feedback, listen to the problem, not the person. Doing this may help you not take it personally and assist you in making the needed changes faster.
If you are still having issues with delivering feedback and being perceived as negative, try writing down what you want to say, and then bullet point it into short sentences. Put your self in the other person’s shoes/seat and see how you would feel receiving your feedback.
Write down any comments that you could make based on the previous experience and rewrite them in a solution-driven statement.
To develop stronger communication skills, take our “Principles of communication course“.
Developing yourself is one of the best things you can do, trust me I have done it, if you want to gain more influence and build stronger relationships communication matter. YES delivery of what you say and HOW you say it Matters! Sign up and improve your communication skills today.
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