How to get people begging for your feedback!

How to get people begging for your feedback!

I once made someone cry because of the feedback I gave them. 

I didn't mean to, of course. But it happened. 

I spent many years pursuing my dream of becoming a professional percussionist, wanting to play in an orchestra or any ensemble, for that matter, that would pay me to hit a drum. And while there was a bit of a transition period between being the student and becoming a pro, one day I was there.  I, dressed in my second-hand tuxedo, was being hired and making a living (albeit meagre) as a freelance player in the big smoke. 

Shortly after that, I found myself no longer the student but the teacher when I applied for and got hired by the Royal Conservatory of Music as a percussion instructor. 

And while my playing resume was not too shabby by then, my teaching experience was limited and no one had ever talked to me about how to give good feedback to my students.

All I had was what I had experienced myself, the way I had been taught, the good and the bad. 

I left the Conservatory a few years ago after having given feedback in over 15,000 private lessons and in some 2000 rehearsals. 

While I did make someone cry once (ok maybe twice), I did figure out a few things about getting people to really want the feedback you have to offer.

How to receive feedback like a Japanese shopkeeper

How to receive feedback like a Japanese shopkeeper

Developing a positive attitude around honest feedback of any kind is a difficult thing to do. If we are the ones on the receiving end and if the feedback is poorly delivered (see blog on giving good feedback), it can be like a punch in the stomach, knocking the wind out of us. In some cases it can cause us to lose sleep at night. It can even make us question if we are working in the right organization. But good honest feedback is one of the most valuable tools for you and your organization.

As a matter of fact, a 2010 study by the Corporate Executive Board, as cited in a recent article from the New Talent Times, found that companies which encouraged honest feedback among their staff, and that were rated highly in the area of open communication, delivered a 10-year total shareholder return that was 270 percent more than other companies—7.9 percent compared to 2.1 percent.

As a musician I have a lot of experience both giving and receiving feedback (it is a constant in that world) but my whole perspective was changed a few years ago by an experience I’d like to share with you.