Tips for delivering feedback like an Improviser

Delivering and receiving feedback is an art form in and of itself. We can’t always control how the feedback we give will be received, but we can control our approach to delivering the information.

Learning the principles of Improvisation can not only help us stay present and adapt to the information we receive in conversation, but also provide useful tips on our feedback approach.

1. Start Positive

  • It may sound obvious, but how many of us start our feedback session with a positive?
  • Help set a positive tone for your meeting
  • Starting positive is not about stroking an ego, it puts your team in the right frame of mind to hear the feedback that will follow
  • Starting positive establishes connection and builds trust
  • Reminds employee you are both working towards the same goal

2. Be Specific

  • Improvisers stay away from vague offers because it doesn’t help move the story/conversation forward
  • Be specific in your feedback and praise so that the receiver is as clear as possible
  • Are your offers vague, closed, or open?
3. Know your objective
  • Stay focused on the goal  – ask yourself, what do you hope to get out of this meeting?
  • Tie back to the objective as much as possible
4. Make your partner look good
  • As improvisers, our number one goal on stage is to support our partner. We do this by actively trying to make our partner look good. We achieve this through focused listening and maintaining an open dialogue as much as possible.
  • It reminds us we always have our partners best interest in mind
5. Adjust your approach to failure
  • When delivering and receiving feedback consider your approach to the dreaded term of: “failure”.. Can we learn to view failure as a learning opportunity instead of an error that we can’t recover from?
  • What behavior are we modeling?
There is an art to giving feedback, and it can make all the difference  in getting to desired results, establishing trust, and building a connection with your employees.
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