Posts in communication
Learn to Tell a Great Story

In my work as a professional speaker, I seek to weave in stories whenever possible. The reason is simple. Unlike dry, technical information, stories deliver messages direct to the heart. They deliver immediate understanding and are remembered much longer than other information.

When I use words like, “Let me tell you a story,” the audience always becomes more alert and attentive. It’s like they’re thinking, “Okay, here comes the really good stuff.”

Good stories have a power all their own. They can make complex issues understandable. They can give people a sense of community. They can call people to action in ways they never imagined.

Storytelling is not just an important skill for speakers. Now more than ever, great leaders are great storytellers. Storytelling helps executives weave rich narratives that inspire their organizations, set a vision, teach important lessons, and define the culture and values. Perhaps most importantly, stories explain who you are, how you got here, and what you believe most deeply about your work and about each other.

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How to Receive Feedback Like a Boss, Part II

The next time that someone approaches you with some unwanted feedback consider the following:

  1. Listen to understand – Hear them out without interruption. Mirror back what you heard and ask questions for clarification. Also ask for examples so you know more clearly when and in what way this is happening. If there is something that you disagree with, hold it until the end. This way you validate them and open further lines of communication. It’s always best for the concern to come directly to you rather than to others. 

  2. Respond carefully – Try to avoid sounding defensive. Leave your ego to the side and accept warranted concerns as well as viable advice. If you are unsure about the validity of feedback or what to do with it, ask for time to respond. Make sure to get back to the other party in a timely fashion and with a real game plan (see below). And then ask for feedback about the plan.

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How to Receive Feedback Like a Boss, Part I

We all need feedback if we are to grow and perform at our very best. And if our people don’t have a way to express their fears and concerns, what will that do to their morale, engagement, and desire to remain at your company?

So, before discussing strategies for receiving feedback, we must first tackle the challenge (and it’s a big one!) of getting our people to open up to us in the first place.

Part of the challenge here could be our mindset. In her bestselling book Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success, Stanford Professor Carol Dweck talks about people’s mindsets with regards to their ability to perform new tasks.  She talks about people who stay squarely in their comfort zones and others that venture well beyond them. Dweck labeled these mindsets as “fixed” and “growth,” respectively.

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How to Give Feedback Like a Boss

In a previous post we talked about using the “EARN” approach to giving constructive feedback that focuses on a person’s actions rather than on their person or character.

Below are some other tips to help you deliver more effective feedback.

  1. Be positive – If your intention is genuine, and you can convey this to the employee, there’s a good chance your feedback will be effective.

  2. Be immediate – Give the feedback while the individual can act on it. Waiting until the end of the week, or worst yet, the annual performance review doesn’t help the person make mid-course corrections.

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