This morning I attended a networking function in Melbourne with Business Women Australia and Jennifer Bryant. Nell Wilson spoke to us about First Impressions and FEEDBACK - how to give it and how to receive it effectively. Now, feedback is generally constructive. It can be an acknowledgement of what's working or feedback around what's not working. Nell used a two step approach: 1. What I noticed about you when we first met here this morning is (insert a strength or a positive you observed). 2. What might make a difference for you moving forward is (insert what they need to lose or gain that's not serving them). We went through this exercise with the intention of making a difference to each other via the feedback and it was extremely valuable. I noticed some were uncomfortable with acceptance of their strengths and made excuses or shrugged it off. Wow! I've been there. It's not a cool place to hang out. Who wants to do business with someone who is unsure of themselves? I don’t. So I want to add something to Nell's process. The missing piece for me is ‘Intention’. So I spoke up and shared a feedback experience I had a few months ago where a business colleague gave me some feedback. It came in the form of an aggressive phone call where he spoke over the top of me in an abusive tone and was followed up by an abusive text in capital letters. I put the phone down and noticed I was in shock and then went to a state of concern and empathy for him. Things must be tough to take that tone. This guy is under some immense pressure in his business. I felt it. Did I have aspects to own and be responsible for? You bet. I missed some detail and I owned it. He continued his tone. This was not a two way conversation. He was so pissed, he lost his listening skills (he is a damn fine listener). He gave me no room to move. It felt like a machine gun approach. He aimed, fired and shot me down. Get clear on your intention and outcome for the conversation. If it is your desire and intention to maintain good business relationships and move the conversation forward, consider tone, capitals with texting (we all know that's yelling!) and insert some listening to ensure it's a two way process. Your voice is not the only one in the conversation. One of the best pieces of feedback I ever got was from a respected coach and mentor last year, John Smallwood. He said 'Helen, you know you have a bit of smart ass about you at times, don't you?" I agreed. I knew about that. He had the courage to say it, there was no judgement and the intention was golden. He was raising awareness. His reply to my acknowledgement, "Cool, as long as you know." It was a gift. It gave me some clarity and consciousness around when I used it. I'm grateful to John for this feedback. I remember my mate Paul McCarthy after a presentation where a participant came to him and asked if he would like some feedback about what didn't work for her in his presentation. He replied with 'No, I am very particular about who I take feedback from'. She was horrified that he did not want her ten cents worth. I like Paul's style! If you intend for your feedback to land effectively, consider how it is given and allow space for a two way conversation. It's a dialogue, not a monologue. You can leave your heavy artillery behind. It has no place in effective communication. You are highly unlikely to get what you want. As for me, I'm open to feedback from those I trust and respect. I'm open to it when it's delivered with respect and truth and in a way I can hear it and respond. I've modelled Paul for years now. When unsolicited or aggressive feedback lands, like Paul I allow it to slide off like teflon! Do you have a feedback experience we can learn from?