28 Jul 2017

How to receive and give feedback; Pathways way?

Of course, from the first day back in 1905, in the YMCI basement, Ralph Smedley brought the pear criticism to what he called "Toastmasters" to the young boys needing to learn to communicate.

"By speech ten, you develop a thick skin" to what you hear, and learn to take the critic sayings, use them as you need to improve." I quote from head so it is not world to word. True, with time we learn.

The criticism, called "evaluation" not even "feedback" through board decision, later, could be given in different ways. Ralph wrote a book about it, and insisted clubs should change every three month how they do it, not enter in a same same again. It could be done by round robin, or only one critic, or the GE can assign to each who gives feedback to look at something different: one for beginning and ends, other for voice, third for body language, and so on, for all the speeches given that night.

Pathways, following Ralph Smedley's tradition gives a renewed importance to Evaluation (giving and receiving it).

After the Icebreaker, the next project "Evaluation and Feedback" has three parts:

1. Give a speech, any speech. Listen carefully to the feedback. Feedback spoken during the meeting, feedback given after in the break, feedback by mentor, feedback by fellow toastmasters and, yes, even your own feedback as looking back. Take it as it comes, then reflect to it.

- in the July number of Toastmasters Magazine, there is even an article on how to chose from Facts to Feelings, or personal bias, let the emotion wave go down, then take what needed from the feedback.

So true! I got a feedback a month ago "you do not look in the eye, when you stay on feet" from an evaluator who never looked up to me from his reading while I spoke, online, the first ever time on my feet, to be able to move more.

I was really angry. At first. Then I tried to find a way to have my eye in right level even when I stood up. Difficult.

When I received another advice, 'stay up to show more movement that would improve your story" wrapped up in great things about my story, I finally decided to find a way, and put my laptop on two baskets when needed.

So belated, but critic absorbed.

2. Give the same speech using the conclusions from the feedback, or a different using it, in another occasion. I still have to give my standing speech, but I am ready for it now. And I did repeat many of my stories more then once, but now, I try to give as many as possible at least twice.

In fact, any professional, repeats and improves many time, beside tailoring it to the audience and to the occasion. Our own feedback, the feedback from audience, the feedback from our critics count. With time, we learn to appreciate them and cherish them as they help us improve our texts and our delivery, our connection to our audience.

3. Offer a feedback. Offer it in a way that it can be used to improve the next time, to someone. When we understand how useful it can be, we give evaluations not only to give a good speech on the speech we just heard and seen and felt, but also to help improve. Give confidence, yes, but also look at what constructive advice we could give.

It also tells the Evaluator to look and listen! Too many are absorbed by what they write down and disappoint the speaker by not apparently looking at them. Some can multitask, but when the speaker looks at you, it is better to be able to nod, or look back in the eye at least.

If you are advanced, give it to a beginner, and do not tell "everything" just one that can be changed for the next delivery. If you are beginner, give your feelings and observation to someone advanced, he  is more used to take whatever you do tell.

So in Level 1 of pathways, we learn already the huge importance of giving and taking feedback. We do not have to wait to be "on Pathways" to use these! We all can begin with it today. Many clubs, many members do so already, did for long time. Why not begin it TODAY ?

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