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The Critical Thing Our Society Has Lost

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As I read through the feedback from a recent webinar, one comment caught my eye: “Her voice was annoying.”

Before the webinar, I told my client that she should speak in a little bit deeper voice. According to research a deeper voice instills more trust with men. My client spoke with a calm practiced tone that wasn’t annoying at all, yet this gentleman felt it was necessary to type out a negative comment in the feedback section. I’m honestly not sure what he was hearing, or what he intended to achieve with his comment. Does he expect her to completely change her voice? She is no Fran Drescher. To me, her speech had a pleasant tone and comfortable pacing.

This negative feedback is not limited to webinars, but also carries over to every aspect of life. I am not sure where in our world we forgot manners but we NEED to bring them back.

If you know someone that needs to bring sexy back to manners then feel free to pass this along. Or if they are doing a stellar job, tell them they rock, then send this to them and confirm that they do everything on this list.

The 4 simple rules of giving negative feedback:

  1. Listen to the person completely with your full attention before jumping the gun
  2. Tell them the good things first—what you liked about it, and their work or effort
  3. Give them suggestions of what you think would help them improve, or items you would like to see changed
  4. End with positive feedback

Here’s how it works:

Say someone comes up to you and says, “We should do a company lunch with a hog roast!”

You know that you have no room to roast a hog, and half of your staff is vegetarian. What you don’t say is, “We don’t have room and half of our staff can’t eat that!”

I would suggest you say: “I love the idea of a company lunch. Let’s see if there is something that we can do that would fit our space and meet the needs for our vegetarians. Thanks for coming up with the idea!”

Or say you have a graphic artist that you’re working with and she created something that you don’t like.  Look at it closely and you can easily find something you do like. “I like the font/color scheme/size of the image that you went with! Here are some of the things I think we should tweak. Thanks for putting your time into this.”

It’s not about having to accept everything they do and give them a gold star for doing it. It’s about recognizing that if you hired the right people then they are putting their best foot forward. They have put hard work into coming up with ideas and items in hopes of impressing you.  If your immediate reaction is to find the bad in everything they do and look at it with a critical eye, then you are morally beating the enthusiasm out of them. Trust me, they will start cringing when they have to show you anything. When the phone rings they won’t want to answer it, and they will no longer connect with you.

Hopefully you’ve hired people that care about your company. The right employees don’t need for you to say, “Why didn’t you do this?” or “You made this mistake and the client caught it, what were you thinking?” When the right people make mistakes they beat themselves up more than you can, so there is no need for you to kick them while they’re down.

How would I personally bring it up if one of my employees made a mistake and the client caught it? Ask any of my team members and they’ll tell you. I don’t freak out. There are plenty big things in the world to panic over, and a spelling error is not one of them. I respond with an “oh shoot we missed that.”

At my last company we once sent out an email blast that was supposed to go to exhibitors, and it had sponsorship pricing on it. Our marketing team accidentally sent the email out to all of our attendees! Now that sucked, but me yelling at them wouldn’t have changed the fact. Instead we did an “oops email” to attendees explaining ourselves and apologized for the mistake. After the oops email went out, we suddenly had an uptick in new attendees. I think it showed we were human. Keep in mind I also had to respond to a lot of attendees saying “We understand you are not sponsoring the event and don’t want a booth….” so I don’t recommend this as a sales tactic.

Some would say, “I have to write more to be polite and my time is money!” or “No need to be polite. We have a working relationship that we understand urgency over politeness.” To those of you that think that:

Thank you for your feedback. I feel that you will see a huge difference in your company and with your employees/coworkers when we all add in a few moments of politeness. It takes seconds and I promise it won’t hurt your company. Only good comes out of good so be the superhero for good at your work.

As for the gentleman with the annoying voice comment? Well my act of politeness was choosing not to write him an unkind response on my client’s behalf. As mom said, if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all. And I practiced it that day.


Misty Manners Megia 🙂

Misty Megia
Hi, I'm Misty Megia!

I’m a Creative Director for high-achieving leaders who want to unmute themselves to give presentations that move people profoundly through my Corporate Speaking Program and my Theatre of Public Speaking Program.

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