Guest Contributions · TMOD

A TMOD theme on “The art of giving feedback”

Giving feedback is an exercise intricately connected with Toastmasters. Here is a TMOD script by TM Mansi from Chennai that emphasizes how we can excel in this art.

THE ART OF GIVING FEEDBACK

Feedbacks are at the very heart of Toastmasters. No wonder we don’t just have an entire session dedicated to it but also a separate team of evaluators evaluating different aspects. To anyone who has been long enough in Toastmaster, the importance of quality feedback will be clear as the day light.

Similarly, giving feedback is also important in various other aspects of your life like to your employees at your workplace or to your children. However, there is a very thin line of difference between feedback and criticism. And while feedback is appreciated, criticism can make the other party feel offended. So, it is important to learn the art of giving effective feedback. Let me demonstrate how.

The first important lesson is something we as Toastmasters are already familiar with – following the CRC approach. Just like in Toastmasters, even in our personal or professional life, telling someone where they erred or what they are not good at will offend them. The ideal way would be to soften the blow my sandwiching it between commendations.

For example – if your kid eats too many chocolates, the wrong way would be “You had too many chocolates already. No more chocolates for you.” This may cause the kid to rebel. A better way could be “You have been doing a great job in keeping your room tidy. Although I do see a lot of chocolate wrappers in your bin. Now that may lead to a dentist appointment soon and we don’t want that do we? So how about we start a new one chocolate a day resolution. That way your teeth will be as shining as your room”

Before I tell you the next trick in the art of delivering effective feedbacks, let me explain how a Toastmasters meeting works. Every Toastmasters meeting is divided into three parts. The first part is the Prepared Speech section where our members prepare a 5 to 7 minute speech in advance, get it mentored and deliver the same. The second part is the fun and exciting Table Topic Session where anyone can speak for 1 to 2 minutes on a topic given by our Table Topic Master. And the last part is the evaluation session where our General Evaluator will give a comprehensive report on the entire meeting. On that note, let me invite our General Evaluator for the day TM Name.

Once the GE is done explaining his role, invite the Prepared Speakers. After this session, continue with the theme as under.

An important thing to remember when giving feedback is to make it a two conversation. You should give the other side an opportunity to speak and not storm off after speaking. The other side may have a doubt to clarify or may want feedback on a particular aspect. It may so happen that you are under some misconception. In the previous example, what if your kids replies “Dad the wrappers you saw were all that I had collected in my school bag over the last month and dumped today.” In that case, the right feedback may be “Don’t collect scrap, discard them”

Even in professional settings, not giving the other side a chance to speak may leave them feeling unheard and cause resentment. Therefore when giving feedback, make sure it is a two way conversation. Luckily, our next segment excels on this note wonderfully because it’s time for the Table Topic Session. Please help me welcome our Table Topic Master for the day TM Name.

Once the Table Topic Session is over, continue with the theme as under.

How would you feel if your mentor suggested that your speech needs some reworking but never told which part and how? At a loss, right? While giving feedback, it is important to let the other person know what needs to be fixed and how it can be done. Consider an employee whose report lacks conclusion. Just saying “Hey, your reports lack conclusion” doesn’t help him understand how. On the other hand, saying “Hey the data you gave in your report were on point. It would be really wonderful if you can add an analysis towards the end too. Here let me show you a report from the production team.” Notice how this makes the other person feel appreciated and at the same time helps him in understanding how he can level up where he is lacking. On that note, let me now invite the General Evaluator to do the same for us. Please help me welcome TM Name.

Once the evaluation session is over, conclude the theme as under.

Fellow Toastmasters, giving feedback is indeed an art and there are several nuances to it. Emphasizing on the facts and not feelings, avoiding use of derogatory words and showing empathy are some of the other things that you can work on to make sure your feedback elevates the other side instead of putting them down. Excelling in the art of giving feedback doesn’t just help the receiver but makes you a great leader as well. And I believe all of us have already taken the first step in that direction – joining Toastmasters.

It’s time now for the awards.

RELATED: How to appreciate prepared speakers?

Thank you TM Mansi for this wonderful script. If you have such a script for any role in Toastmasters, do let us know here.

For more ideas on theme and script for the role of TMOD, look here.

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