Dr Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI and the Referral Institute, published two blogs:
1) Unsolicited advice is rarely appreciated
2) The right and wrong way to give feedback
Recently I was on the receiving end of both of these at the same time, so I thought it would be a good time to share the experience and how you can use it in your own business – indeed I briefly mention it in my new book.
I had one day’s notice before attending a networking event, so there was no time to have some marketing material produced professionally (unless I had paid many hundreds of pounds.) I was therefore left with the choice of bringing no material at all, or producing a temporary item myself.
There was no way to win, so I took the choice to produce the item myself as at least that gave people my contact details should they wish to follow-up.
You can imagine my surprise when someone I had never met before marched up to me after the meeting… and returned my marketing item to me. They then proceeded to use some ‘colourful metaphors’ to tell me what they thought about it!
I knew the material wasn’t professionally produced, and had taken the decision to use it knowing that fact. Was this person right? Yes, of course they were technically right – I had even blogged about the differences between professionally produced marketing material and others in the past.
But… had I asked for feedback? Did I know them? No on both counts, and the format of the unasked for feedback wasn’t in either a constructive or supportive manner.
Looking back at Dr Misner’s two blog posts, we can see that either one can damage someone’s credibility – however when combined together it could be doubly so.
I agree with Dr Misner’s point of view, indeed one tip I have learned from another great presenter is to always ask ‘would you mind if I gave you some constructive feedback?’ before proceeding. In cases where people have asked for feedback first I will freely provide this.
It’s important to remember that feedback should always be constructive, otherwise it could be mistaken for a personal attack.