By Roy B. Martinez President, Rising Stars in the Southwest | April 11, 2017
We had an interesting and fun session doing something most of us are sometimes uncomfortable doing. The students shared their feedback on personal introductions, which at first can be extremely uncomfortable and for some a new experience. At first we all tend to be tentative and shy when presenting to others and then even more reserved when we have to provide constructive feedback to a fellow group member.
This past Wednesday’s group was given their introduction assignment along with a guide in offering positive feedback. I don’t think there are very many of us that have that instant skill of presenting to others. In my past life I found that our learning and development team spent a good amount of time and effort working with seasoned professionals in presentation skills. Providing constructive feedback is even more of challenge for most folks. The challenge in offering positive feedback is offering compliments that don’t become less meaningful when suggestions are made to improve the presentation. How many times have you heard “that was really good BUT…”? The use of the verbal eraser, in this case “but”, takes away anything positive that was said. We only hear the negative and much of the time we start filtering the comment out.
Student Flora Gallegos shared; at first the personal introduction seemed quite easy. However once we began drafting our introduction statements to present to the group it became clear that it was very difficult to put in words everything about ourselves in the form of a short introduction. When we presented it was a small group of our peers we were still nervous. However with positive feedback and suggestion from the group we learned how to improve our speeches as well as learning positive attributes of introduction giving from observing the other group mates.
This exercise was meant to be a simple and focused way to learn about improving presenting and at the same time help others become better speakers. What was offered as feedback was given with smiles and directness helping to improve each individual’s introduction. Some of the most common challenges we noted were speaking too fast, forgetting what to say and voice projection.
The shared feedback acknowledges some great work and some areas to focus on improving. Improvement ideas were done in a very positive and friendly manner. What is so dynamic about this process is listening for the input on how to improve oneself. We all want to improve ourselves and in this exercise with specific positive feedback we eagerly accept the kind and thoughtful suggestions from others. There is another outcome of this exercise. We highlight what we hear and like what others presented in such manner that it makes one “feel good”. Compliments are sometimes taken for granted but they can be very refreshing and confidences building in the context of helping others improve a skill.
Hopefully this little sharing will spur you on to helping others be the best they can be! A big thank you to Flora Gallegos for assistance in our sharing this little story.
Thank you for caring, supporting and believing in our future leaders.