For the last couple of weeks of December I listened to my collection of recordings from notorious grump and marketing master Jedi Dan Kennedy. During one discussion he mentioned how he never has “feedback forms” available for the audience. Why?
a.) he doesn’t really care about their input. If people are buying, he’s doing things right.
b.) the audience isn’t qualified to give him relevant input. The comments usually say more about the person making the comments than the recipient.
This makes sense to me because “unqualified input” seems to come from everywhere. When I’m doing a copywriting project for a client, the English Major who insists that single sentence paragraphs “aren’t allowed” may be qualified to critique my next book but certainly knows nothing about writing ad copy.
While I love Toastmasters, the obligatory “uhm counter” role carried out by the grammarian is a minor surface issue. Watch the top paid talk show hosts and listen to how many times they say uhm. Now, do you want to tell me that you can’t be a successful speaker if you say uhm when you talk?
Now, if you dig deeper and build a person’s confidence as a speaker (which is what Toastmasters is great for), the uhm’s will magically reduce in frequency on their own and the remaining uhm’s don’t sound like they’re coming from a Nervous Nelly anymore.
That doesn’t mean I don’t listen to feedback. For example, I listen to what clients say they’re looking for. That tells me something about them and there’s often more in their feedback than what appears on the surface.
“Perception is reality” is only reality for the person with the perception. Speak in front of 100 people and ask for feedback, you will receive the results of 100 different perceptions.
So which reality is reality?
All of it and none of it.
Sonia Simone at Copyblogger posted about this topic as well.
How about you? Have you ever been derailed by feedback?