Recently, I was teaching a class to a group of local government supervisors. One of the participants noted at the end of the session, “Did you know you used the word ‘unpack’ over 20 times?” I laughed and asked, “Really?” Apparently, I used the word so much he decided to make a game of it and keep score!
Here’s the thing—I totally appreciated his honesty. Most presenters will go through seasons when tics or words become invisible to them, but highly visible to those who are paying attention. If no one brings those tics to the speaker’s attention, they may become even more engrained and ultimately hurt the message.
So, when someone offers criticism, instead of getting defensive, be thankful! Actually, it is important when you are receiving feedback to ask a very important follow-up question, “Is there anything else you noticed that would be good for me to know?”
When you take that follow-up step, you are positioning yourself to turn your critic into your coach.
Not only will practicing this feedback loop make you better at what you do, it will affirm those who offer feedback, and model coachability as a key part of your organization’s culture.