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Still Fed Up with Feedback, Or, Who Asked You Anyway?
by Susan RoAne

Yes, it is the 21st century and so much has changed due, in great part, to technology. But, people - well, we haven't a bit! We still have the same foibles, follies, fabulous and foolish behaviors. Except now we have the option of "internaughty" bad behavior.

Instead of bad mouthing in our circle, much like the game of "Buzz" played as kids (whisper a sentence in someone's ear; go around a table at a birthday party; have the last person repeat what was heard. Then have the originator tell what was first said. Usually there was NO similarity . . . and always good for a laugh.) We now play "Buzz" via bandwith.

We can truly lose web-site of reality!

And, with all these technological changes you would think and hope people would have a clue. No way. There are still people who actually think their "constructive criticism" is of value. Once again, I maintain it is a self-cancelling phrase. Such feedback is only their perception of the situation.

So often these people who feel compelled to tell us how to speak, behave, dress, drive - for our own good - remind me of the aunt who says, "This hurts me more than it hurts you." NO, it does not!

Unsolicited advice and feedback is still UNwarranted and UNwanted. And that, my friends, has not changed. When I want your feedback, I will ask for it.

Is feedback a bad thing? No. It is important to have a perception check. I personally hand pick the people I trust to tell me the truth in a manner that is forthright and comes from loving and caring for me.

And, sometimes, when we are "sharing," perhaps "venting," all we want is for someone to listen. Not to step in and tell us what we should do, ought to have done, could do better.

We can find out our role best by stating, "I am happy to just listen and be supportive, if that is what you prefer I do." That way we know what is expected and can behave accordingly.

Let me repeat myself. Unsolicited negative feedback is not appropriate nor appreciated. Not by me. Not by most people. Remember, it is only a perception; motivated by your "shtick."

Feedback in print requires even more restraint, whether it is a memo, letter or e-mail. Reread, revise, reconsider what you offer as feedback in print.

One day a colleague decided to tell me that my new professional photo did not really look like me. "Oh, you mean the gorgeous one?" I should have told him that he was right; someone else had posed for it. Maybe Cindy Crawford. As my mother always asked (rhetorically) when her children did not behave angelically, "What did I do to deserve this?"

Maybe it is that I graciously listen. Maybe it is I am too restrained in my verbal response. Maybe I need to take a few more kickboxing classes! The real issue is that I did not ask him what he thought about my photo.

My feedback team has been in place for years. Diane Parente is the image guru. Not only because of her extensive knowledge but also that she comes from a place of caring. What she tells me to do, buy, wear or return . . . I just do it. It's a time saving technique.

When Dawne Bernhardt suggests I "reconsider" a point or reorganize a thought sequence or modify a tone, it's done. She is brilliant, experienced and credentialed to be the speech coach extraordinaire. One classy lady.

The "board" of The RoAne Group meets virtually and I run virtually every personal and professional decision by them. Anyone who knows me has heard their names, Lana, Carl, Mumsy, and Lois. I have my publishing "angels," speaking "angels and life "angels."

They, not the givers of unsolicited and unwarranted and unkind feedback, get to tell me how to live and run my life.

Is unsolicited feedback ever appropriate? Of course. Like the old adage goes - "When you have something NICE to say!"

Susan RoAne is sought after speaker, consultant and best-selling author of How To Work A Room, as well as The Secrets of Savvy Networking and What Do I Say Next? Her audio-book, RoAne's Rules: How To Make the RIGHT Impression is also available in local and on-line bookstores She is the nation's leading and original networking authority.

Copyright Susan RoAne. All Rights Reserved.

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