Feedback is a gift. What you do with your gifts is how you add value.
As I prepare an exciting and adventurous day of "Fun and Innovative Ways to Engage Your Stakeholders (and get things done!)" in the workshop for Project Summit BA World Orlando 2018, I'm enjoying reflecting on feedback from courses where I did similar activities that I'm integrating for some really engaging activities. I'm literally thumbing through stacks of post it notes of feedback collected during activities. I can't help but think - WOW, what a gift!
Gathering Session Feedback
Whenever you do a session - facilitate a workshop, help with a requirements walkthrough, or simply conduct an elicitation session by asking your colleague about a technology - do you collect the feedback? It's great with our assessments that we look internally at how well we did, but the feedback from those you work with represents the true value you can take from the session and maximize your own ROI! What did the participant(s) think of the session? What did they like about the session? What do they think could be improved?
Get Feedback Immediately
The more close to the event or item that you can get the feedback, the more raw and true to heart the feedback is. Getting the audience while you're still presenting to write down what they like or dislike right while it's happening is fresh and undiluted thoughts. These are often more powerful than those comments that come a week or two later. So as you conduct your session look at how you can build the feedback in as PART of your session, not separate, but something that engages and gets the data live! Not to mention this saves you time from trying to go back and survey your attendees (if you can track them down...) to respond who I've been told have as low as 20% response rate on emailed surveys.
Feedback is a Gift
A great colleague of mine emphasized how much a gift feedback actually is. And as I sift through post-it notes that challenged students to identify what they liked about the session and what they could improve, I whole-heartedly agree! I have all this (generally) unbiased and unique perspectives giving me ideas on how I could make my sessions more valuable for them. Picture the comment on "What could be improved" and think that if you have 100 people in your session, you might get 100 consultants FREE feedback! How awesome is that!?!? And since there's no coercion involved (well, maybe a little during the session, but just some gentle prodding..) it is normally genuine and what they feel at that moment because they are giving it freely without payment.
And Take It With a Grain of Salt!
Of course, all feedback is open to interpretation. Everyone has bad days including your audience so know that life happens. The only problem with any "bad" feedback is if you refuse to consider if there is any truth in there or fresh perspective to consider your content. Someone tells you that your session didn't give them anything...well that gives you an opportunity to consider if you correctly identified your target audience and advertised this intended perspective and goals and expectations. See it as the way to improve yourself and not a way to please every person. We're human, so we're all going to have unique perspectives, but that's what makes this so wonderful!
Your thoughts...? Feedback please!