I was at Manchester Metropolitan University business school last week delivering a session to a group on emotion in communication and its impact on sales.
This is the second time I have delivered to this group and their feedback from my first session helped me sharpen and hone my structure and language. Without the groups feedback and support I would have overlooked some very key benefits. I was using the language of psychology and behaviour rather than the language of business and application. This group are a combination of academics and business owners, by refreshing my language so it sounded more like the language they use on a day to day basis made the second session more compelling and well, more fun.
What can happen too easily is we get into the language of our industry and start getting complacent with the understanding others may have who are not from it. In my haste to deliver the most impressive session I had forgotten that I am the expert in my field and the group were avid learners, but knew little of what lies behind the face to face communication development training we deliver at In The Moment.
Hitting the sweet spot between accessibility and education using stories, metaphor and some video role play is the outcome of giving my presenting skills a go in a friendly but honest arena. Without the learning from the group going ‘I don’t get this’ or ‘how does this apply to me?’ I would not have been able to answer these questions the best way possible with my second session.
Its easy to take things personally when getting critical feedback, and sometimes it leaves you questioning whether you are such an expert after all. But, taking the learning, restructuring the session and considering the audience and what they needed at the end got my message across effectively.
Using feedback as part of any reflective thinking requires a nimble awareness, our ability to shift attention from ourselves to the people sitting opposite us or to the context and situation. Feedback alongside nimble awareness and a healthy inquisitiveness is the food of learning. Eat it up.