Recently we moved to a lovely new home in Perth. I had not met our new neighbors yet, however I did meet their huge pickup truck.
The one always parked right across the sidewalk...
I decided to ignore it and suck it up each time I had to plan an alternative route around it, through the grass with my non off road pram and back onto the side walk.
After 2 weeks I was over it.
I knew what I had to do.
It was time to give some feedback!
Piece of cake right?
I mean, I'm a Communication Trainer and Professional Role Play Actor. It's one of my main tasks to provide feedback, so just telling our neighbors to move their truck of the sidewalk couldn't be that hard...
Ironically enough, I kept delaying it.
Everybody that ever provided feedback to someone knows how hard it can be. Some people feel easily attacked, leaving an open and constructive conversation almost impossible. Others, just nod friendly as you share your thoughts, and you just know nothing is going to change...
So why didn't I just ring the doorbell and give the feedback?
After having given it some thought, it made sense to me.
Effective feedback relies on one simple rule:
E = Q x A
Or better known as: Effect = Quality x Acceptance
What does this mean?
Well, no matter how substantially qualified my feedback is, if the other person chooses not to accept it, the effect is minor.
I haven't even met my neighbors yet, so how would I know if they would accept my feedback?
Luckily I also realized that feedback needs to be a dialog, not a monologue.
Inviting the other person to respond and creating a conversation which builds the acceptance factor. That gave me the confidence to ring the doorbell of my neighbor after all.
And now the pick up truck is no longer in my way.
When I see our neighbors I always get wave and a smile as I roll my pram smoothly along the side walk where the pickup truck use to be.
But most importantly... I realized that, even as a Communication Trainer, you're never done learning.
Giving and receiving feedback is the basis to remain focused on personal performance and development. Feedback creates the opportunity to develop, learn and maintain an open dialog. Therefore it is an extremely important skill to master or improve.