25 October 2011


I am constantly thinking about feedback. It seems a little weird, until you realize that putting on a sweatshirt, or adding ice to your drink is a form of feedback. It is so unconscious, we have lost the ability to think about it as such.

Most feedback is like this until something shakes us up. Occasionally, feedback walks up and slaps us in the face. Maybe it is the critique that went less than stellar. Maybe it is the performance review at work that caught you off guard.

I had a piece of feedback from school this last week that had me shaking my head and wanting to share. Context: I was third presenter in line at the end of the lecture delivered by the professor. My thunder was gone - not just stolen, but gone. Keyser Soze style.

Here it goes:
Done well: Compared goals and objectives very well. Nice powerpoint. Research, good conclusions, concise. Good eye contact. Good examples of companies in the area, objectives were well laid out. Good pausing.
Opportunities for Improvement: Talk a little louder, be more enthusiastic. Seemed a little lacking compared to the amount of information others had. Seemed brief and minimally detailed. Better eye contact. Slides were too busy with too many details in some. Add more supporting info.
Gotta love those contradictions.

I had two main thoughts on the feedback:

  • No criteria was issued by the professor as to what made a good presentation. Ergo, my audience compared me to everyone else they had seen that night.
  • You can't please everyone.
Personally, I'm okay with the feedback. I had concerns about the presentation I gave versus everyone else because I was succinct, aiming to meet the six minute time constraint (others in the class went over by five or more minutes). I figured I would be compared to everyone else, and choose to not change what I did as it met the requirements.

I didn't exceed the expectations. I met them. It wasn't stellar and I was okay with that in this situation. Would I have done this if it were my turn for crits at a writing group? I hope not. But what if I had? Was it still worth it?

I think it was worthwhile. At some point feedback must be as much of your writing process as putting on a sweatshirt in response to cold. It has to be natural and just something you do. No emotions. It's not personal, it's something you consider about the environment and move forward in response.

What do you think?

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