TELL (FMF31 2019 Day 20)

I am participating in 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2019 (all of my submissions can be found here).

Today’s prompt is: TELL

Editing and live tweeting are very different things, but they do something for me that I appreciate — they make me pay closer attention to whatever is being written or said.

With live tweeting, it makes me attend more closely to the content a speaker is sharing. Also, as someone who doesn’t get to go to all the conferences I would like (who does, really?), I appreciate when someone else live tweets because it gives me access to something I wouldn’t otherwise hear.

With editing, I have to process what has been written more deeply than if I were just skimming it. Liz Kislik’s blog about how to tell someone something they needed to do differently in their work is a perfect example. Our goal is to provide two-sentence summaries of full-length pieces, something that is more challenging than you might think.

It appeared in Thursday’s SmartBrief on Leadership, which I was editing in my managing editor’s absence. Her point? People can wilt if their feedback is the combo of “you did x well” but “you need to do y differently.” The “but” is a sure way to deflate someone before even getting out the words to explain what needs to be improved upon.

She briefly discussed the “and” option, which I also loved because I believe improv is an important tool for all communicators.

However, she transitioned to suggesting “now” instead of “but.” It makes so much sense when you think about it. Such a more hopeful word that implies forward movement and potential rather than some sort of deficit.

Now, how can you relate differently to someone you need to coach today?

31 Days of Five-Minute Free Writes

3 thoughts on “TELL (FMF31 2019 Day 20)

  1. Well said. “But” is just too strong, if you really want to be constructive. The nice thing about “and” is that you can take things almost anywhere. As in: “Your presentation on the risk/reward matrix made use of a powerful tool to convey some important principles AND it gives us a jumping off point to offer a few real-world anecdotes that can really drive home how they work in practice. I know you have some experience coping with outliers that might be informative…” [Now that I think of it, I might really NEED this. If I ever have to sit through another presentation on the risk/reward matrix my brain will TURN TO DUST!]

    • Wow, Reg, thanks for starting off my Monday with the riveting topic of the risk/reward matrix! I did appreciate Liz’s treatment of this topic. I’ve been advised in various situations to give a “feedback sandwich” (good/constructive/more good), but (um can I use “but” here?) it’s the middle of the sandwich that has the potential to make the whole conversation tank. I’m glad to have a new perspective.

  2. Pingback: 31 Days of Five-Minute Free Writes 2019 - Big Green PenBig Green Pen

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