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We live in a feedback world

October 26, 2009

Two entirely separate things happened in the last week to prove it. I gave three presentations on social media last week. The first was in Syracuse, the second in Binghamton and the last one was in Albany. At all three, I asked that anyone using Twitter during my presentation use the hash tag #TWCBC.

At all three, I got feedback.

The comments ranged from indifferent, to good and bad (another word for bad is constructive). That last one lets me know a couple of things about the build up of my presentation. I either need to be more clear about what I’m saying, or I need to kill the silly play on words at the end of the presentation. I think the asnwer is the latter, and I think I’ve known that for a while.

But all the feedback also gives me insights into why people Twitter the things they do.Which is important for my job.

Then, for something completely different, I was live blogging a curling tournament on the weekend. And yes, a blog offers built in commentary, but this was a little different. One of the players who played in the game read what I wrote and offered feedback via e-mail. He saw the game a little differently than I did, so we chatted via e-mail. But he said this, and it fits right:

“I always enjoy feedback from people after televised games on what people thought during the game.”

Prior to the internet, this world class player would never have been able to get this kind of feedback about the game. True, he could have watched the tape of the final on CBC and got the commentators take on the game, but that’s more an official take. Mine was kind of off-the-cuff riffs on the game in general. He may or may not find value in the feedback, but he’s at least taking the time to acknowledge that feedback can be valuable.

The reason I tell you this is because overall, people can offer feedback on every aspect of your offering. Be it during a presentation, or during a sporting event, the feedback channels are wide open. So it’s not just about listening, it’s about letting people know you’re listening, and telling them where to offer feedback. Telling people you plan to listen makes it easier to get the feedback.

The hard part is making sense of it all, and acting on it. But step one is encouraging feedback.

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