Thursday, April 14, 2011

Feedback the Toastmasters method

One of the key skills that we practice as Toastmasters is how to give people feedback on their performance.  Feedback happens at every single meeting, every single week for every single person.

We have a three step method for giving people feedback that is tried and true and builds people up rather than pulling them down.  It goes something like this -

  1. Commend.  Start with telling people what they did right.  Focus on the positives of someones performance.  This way you build them up and they are receptive to receive the recommendation that you have for them.
  2. Recommend.  Pick a oint or two (at very maximum three) and let the person know some tips on how they could do better next time.
  3. Commend again.  Find other postive aspects of the person and build them up.  This way you leave people with a positive feeling and the person will know that the next time they will be treated the same way.

The great thing about this method is that it suits everyone no matter what level or how experienced they are.  So for new people you spend a lot of time looking at the positives and for the negatives you start with the surface issues and then build them up again at the end.

For people who have been in the game a bit longer you can focus more on the finer points of their performance and hone in on specific aspects.

Another great thing is that in a Toastmasters meeting you only ever have 2 to 3 minutes to comment on someones performance.  There is no time to spare and no time to waste your words.  So the feedback giver needs to be succinct in their approach and wise in their approach.


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