Communication 2

Give Feedback

1. Try to do it Often
Virtually no one thinks they get enough feedback and that is because virtually no one gives enough.

2. Do Not feel Shy
Give feedback as close to the event it refers to as possible. This way what happened is fresh in everybody's mind and it will be easier to learn from it.

3. Give Some Meaning to it
Always provide the context before you give feedback. For example 'I wanted to talk to you about the report that you wrote yesterday.'

4. Try to be Specific
Talk about what went well and what could have gone better for the individual or the team.

5. Describe Actual Behaviors Where it is Possible
Avoid the infamous 'feedback sandwich' (good-bad-good) - it comes across as untruthful and dilutes the impact of good feedback.

6. Try to Elaborate the Context
Describe the impact it had and on whom. This gives an idea of how important it is.

7. Be Generous with Positive Feedback
With positive feedback describe what it tells you about the individual. There are not many greater motivators than being told you are a wonderful person.

8. Allow People to Respond
If they would like time to reflect, let them, and agree to talk about it again at a future date. Do not force people to talk about it though.

9. Be Objective focussed
Do not let your personal prejudices get the better of you. Remember you are giving feedback for the other person's benefit and not to vent your own spleen.

10. Have an Action Plan
With critical feedback make sure there is an agreed way to progress. Find the right time and place.


Dealing with Criticism

1. Listen Impartially to what other says
Not showing any negative or defensive emotions when listening will stop you appearing vulnerable or fragile.

2. Summarize What the Other Person Has Said
This means you have understood them correctly and also that you have taken it all in.

3. Ask Questions everytime
The more specific the criticism the more helpful. Find out what you did and when that gave them their impression. This will mean you will not make the same mistake again.

4. Criticism is Rarely Groundless but Often Exaggerated
Decide which elements are useful and what you can do differently to be more effective.

5. Think about How the Person who Criticizes You Looks at the World
Could they have been trying to help? Are they under pressure themselves? Think about why they have these views about you. This could give you some useful self-awareness.

6. Ask Those Who Criticize You for Their Advice
By making them part of the solution they are less likely to criticise you in the future.

7. Thanks the Person Who Criticize You
Not only have they given you free information but you will also disarm them.

8. Reframe Criticism Which Focuses on What Went Badly
Consider what positive steps you can take to improve in the future and what you have learnt from not succeeding.

9. If You are Angry, Take it out on Something, not Someone
It is understandable to be annoyed but not very useful.

10. Praise Others for What They are Doing Well
It will give you the moral high ground and make you popular.


Keep Discussions from Turning into Arguments

1. Do not argue.
Refuse to get drawn into an argument. Be civil. Respect the other person as much as you honor your own values. Be assertive without resorting to aggression.

2. Seek areas of agreement.
Often we agree with people in principle but disagree with them in practice (we want the same thing but have different ideas of how to accomplish it). Find those areas of agreement. Make them clear. Try always to make the other person a fellow problem-solver, neither an opponent nor a friend.

3. Focus on interests, not positions.
An issue is what we want or need. A position is a way of achieving it. Avoid getting attached to your positions so that you do not lose sight of your interests. It is often easier to negotiate and compromise around interests than around positions.

4. Try to see things from the other person's point-of-view.
There is a reason why other people act and think the way they do - however how illogical, wrong-headed, or misguided as it may seem to you. If you criticize them or show disapproval for their reasoning, they will only harden in their resolution. They will resent and resist you. Seek, instead, to discover their hidden reasons, and you will find the key to their motivation.

5. Ask clarifying questions.
Ask open-ended questions. Closed questions - like 'Do you agree with my proposal?' - limit people's ability to express themselves. Open-ended questions - like 'How do you feel about my proposal?' - give them freedom and give you more information.

6. Listen
"Spend more time listening than speaking (you can not get yourself into trouble by listening, but you sure can start a brawl by speaking). Listen with your body, your eyes and your mind as well as with your ears. Try to understand what people mean, without getting caught up in the exact words they say. Make them feel understood, and they will be much more likely to try to understand you."

7. If you are wrong, admit it
There is nothing wrong with changing your opinion, once you have gained new information or perspective. As a matter of fact, it is the sign of wisdom and maturity. Remember that you have been wrong in the past even when you thought you were right, and admit that you might be wrong this time.

8. If you are right, allow the other person to save face.
You are trying to win people's cooperation, not to prove them wrong. Your kindness will do more to gain their goodwill than anything else.



1. Talk to people before your presentation.
Introduce yourself as people begin gathering. Ask them about themselves, what they do, and why they are there. Smile.

2. Have your audience's best interests at heart.
See your presentation as an opportunity to serve your audience, not to impress or 'sell' them.

3. Establish eye contact.
Look people in the eye one at a time. Hold each person's gaze for 5 to 10 seconds and then look someone else in the eye. We distrust people who will not look us in the eye. A word of caution - some cultures consider such eye contact intrusive and rude.

4. Speak simply and with conviction.
Do not give a speech. Have a conversation with your audience. Say 'I', 'we' and 'you' when appropriate.

5. Approach your presentation from your audience's perspective - not yours.
Address their concerns. Speak to their interests, values and aspirations. Avoid words they might not understand. Cite evidence they find credible. If you have to use words or acronyms they might not understand, explain them immediately.


Resolve Conflict

1. Agree on a mutually acceptable time and place to discuss the conflict.

2. State the problem as you see it and list your concerns.
        Make 'I' statements.
        Withhold judgments, accusations, and absolute.

3. Let the other person have his/her say.
        Do not interrupt or contradict.
        Do not allow name-calling, put-downs, threats, obscenities, yelling or intimidating behavior.

4. Listen and ask questions.
        Ask fact-based questions (who? where? what? when? how?) to make sure you understand the situation.
        Ask exploratory questions (what if? what are you saying? is this the only solution to your problem? what if did such and).
        such are there other alternatives to this situation?).
        Avoid accusatory 'why' questions (why are you like that?).
        Use your own words to restate what you think the other person means and wants.
        Acknowledge person's feelings and perceptions.

5. Stick to one conflict at a time - to the issue at hand.
        Do not change the subject or allow it to be changed. ('I understand your concern but I'd like to finish what we're talking')
         about at the moment before we discuss it.

6. Seek common ground.
        What do you agree on?
        What are your shared concerns?

7. Brainstorm solutions to the conflict that allow everyone to win.

8. Request behavior changes only.
        Do not ask others to change their attitudes.
        Do not ask them to 'feel' differently about something.
        Do not ask them to 'be' different.
        If you want them to 'stop doing' something, suggest an alternative solution.

9. Agree to the best way to resolve the conflict and to a timetable for implementing it.
        Who will do what by when?

10. If the discussion breaks down, reschedule another time to meet. Consider bringing in a third party.



(source: management programmes)