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Executive Presence: How to Accept Feedback

Posted on December 9, 2013 by Leslie Dickson

Have you ever gotten feedback from someone at work that sounded something like this?

  • “You ramble or get off point”
  • “I can’t understand you”
  • “You come across as too aggressive”
  • “You don’t convey confidence”
  • “I need you to be stronger”
  • “I can’t understand your accent”
  • “You said “ah” or “um” fifty times in five minutes”

Have you been inclined to argue with this feedback? Guess what…you are both right!

The dilemma:

There is a built-in dilemma when it comes to communication. We evaluate ourselves based on our intent – our intention is to be professional, knowledgeable, confident, persuasive, etc.

However, others evaluate us based on our outward behavior. If we demonstrate behavior that conveys nervousness, hesitancy, timidness, aggression, and so on – we will get feedback similar to what is listed above.

Seems complicated, doesn’t it? Well, the solution is easier than you might imagine. You need to first understand where you are starting from. You’ve heard it before – it all starts with self-awareness. This is just about seeing you the way others see you. You have the capability to do this at any time. You have a smartphone, right? Turn it on to video mode, and hit play. Record yourself talking about a business issue, and then watch it.

What do you see?

Most people just see the bad stuff. This is what you will notice first – almost blocking anything positive that you are doing. It is important to notice the good things that you are doing too. Remember, you are good at what you do, which is why you are in the role you are in. Be sure to note the good and the not-so-good.

Then as you identify the not-so-good areas, you simply talk with a coach. Your coach needs to supply you with new behaviors that will bring your intent into alignment with the behaviors you exhibit to others.

So, for example:

If you ramble – you may need a model to help organize your thoughts better.

If you need to convey confidence – this may show up in your posture or even the strength and quality of your voice.

If your accent is getting in the way – it may not really be your accent. It may be that you need to enunciate your words more clearly, or simply pause longer to let people process what you are saying.

The bottom line is – the feedback you are getting is a gift. Without it, you would blindly go along not even realizing there is a problem. Let’s face it, we all have areas to work on. Stay open, appreciative and be sure to say, “thank you.”

Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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