Why we all need feedback

Taken at Bootcamp June 2014

If you are yet to be convinced of the value of feedback both for improving your performance and saving yourself time and energy, here are five good reasons to seek someone else’s thoughts on how you are doing.


Feedback gives you something unique

We are all different with our own perspectives on life, so getting feedback from others will allow you to uncover different views to your own and take that broader perspective. You don’t have to act on all the feedback you receive, some things you may shelve for consideration in the future, but you could hear something that you didn’t expect and that you need to work on.

It can be motivational

It’s not just about the bad stuff! Receiving positive feedback is motivational so you could hear something that gives you a real boost. Getting feedback can also help you to learn more about your strengths and then use them effectively in other situations. Ask someone – you may be doing much better than you think!

It improves your performance

Telling someone how they could improve is not necessarily about being critical. If you receive ideas and suggestions for improvement it will keep you learning. Without such insights it can be hard to know where to focus your attention and efforts.

It may uncover your blind spots

We don’t always notice that little thing that we do that annoys others. Similarly we may not realise what was actually expected of us in the first place.

It saves time and energy

So what’s it to be? Spending time second-guessing how others see us, wasting time stressing over things we are actually pretty good at anyway or perhaps missing out on some real pearls of wisdom? Is it time to have that conversation? 

When to seek feedback – for students

I guess it is more a case of when not to seek feedback. Wherever you are, it never hurts to get a second opinion and find out what someone else is thinking.

When studying – Have you shown anyone your personal statement, your PhD proposal or a draft of your assignments?

When applying for jobs – Have you had feedback on your CV or practiced your interview technique with others? Have you ever practiced a group discussion or asked for feedback on your presentation skills?

When working – Has anyone ever commented on your professionalism, how forthcoming you are, your enthusiasm or what they think of your work? It could be time to find out more?

With others – What is your communication style and your typical behaviour in a team? How do you make others feel when they are around you?

Three phrases to use every day

Make feedback a normal part of your day with these three useful phrases:

  • “Could you suggest anything that I could improve on here?”
  • “What would you have done differently in this situation?”
  • “Thank you for your feedback, it is really appreciated”

Giving as good as you get

As Bill Gates famously said “We all need people who will give us feedback”. Giving feedback to others doesn’t need to be confrontational, it is a skill to be developed and it can be of real benefit to the people you care about.

Find out more about the art of giving feedback both quickly and painlessly with Shari Harley’s excellent yet amusing insights

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