Giving and Receiving Feedback


When I joined Toastmasters I was nervous while speaking, uncomfortable receiving evaluations, and had qualms about giving evaluations. This blog might be helpful if you share these feelings. Feedback is important. Leaders receive and give quality feedback; high-performance teams have tight feedback loops. These skills are necessary for personal and team growth.

Receiving Feedback

People don’t join Toastmasters because they are good speakers; they join to become the best speakers they can be. Toastmasters need both encouragement and constructive criticism. Encouragement is important to help continue. Receiving areas for improvement is necessary for growth. Welcome criticism even though it can be threatening.

Some tips for benefiting from feedback:
  • Don’t be defensive. Control your emotions.
  • Give thanks and express gratitude for the effort they put in to construct the feedback. It would have been easy for them to say that everything was fine. Thanking them helps control your emotions.
  • Understand what they said and why they said it.
  • Ask questions with the goal to understand, not to reach agreement.
  • Remember they are giving opinions with the goal to help, so there is no need to explain yourself.
  • Take time to consider what to do with the feedback.
  • Share the feedback with one or two people you trust. Discuss your implementation ideas with them.
  • Try at least one idea. Log the others for future consideration.

Better to Give Than Receive

Toastmasters who have completed six speeches have the opportunity to pay forward the help they received. Feedback is precious, so don’t squander the opportunity. Toastmasters seldom give more than one speech per month.

Make the most of this opportunity:
  • Remember the goal of giving feedback is to help others.
  • Remember how you feel when receiving feedback.
  • Read Toastmaster’s Effective Evaluation Manual.
  • Have your mentor gave tips before the evaluation and suggestions for improvement after.
  • Consider the speaker –
    • A new speaker needs encouragement.
    • Experienced speakers need areas for improvement. They can benefit by getting another perspective.

Outside of Toastmasters

Practice receiving feedback. Make sure you are ready to hear it before you ask. I find that I am more sensitive receiving criticism from family members and close friends than from fellow Toastmasters. Don’t give feedback unless invited or unless you are in a position to do so (parent, teacher or manager).

We are interested in your feedback experiences. Please share them in the comments section.


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