Feedback is the key to Successful Communication

An effective, successful communication requires feedback.  Often we think of feedback and we do not judge or access the quality of the feedback.

To be successful in communication you have to incorporate feedback to go along with good listening and empathy skills.  Leaders are judged often by the ability to successfully communicate.  Bill Clinton is noted for his communication skills.  As President of the United States in any setting, he always made eye contact and showed genuine interest in the person he was talking to.   Going beyond the good listening and empathy skills, as communicators, we should endeavor to give and ask for feedback to improve our communication with others.      We should take this further by stating that communication and feedback can be described to have 4 different levels.

Description of Feedback Levels

These levels are:

  1. Level 1 – the person receiving the feedback cannot repeat back correctly anything that was communicated to them.
  2. Level 2 – the person receiving the feedback can repeat back correctly some of the things that were communicated to them.
  3. Level 3 – the person receiving the feedback can accurately repeat back everything that was communicated to them.
  4. Level 4 – the person receiving the feedback can accurately repeat back everything that was communicated and they can accurately communicate understanding the meaning and rationale behind what was said.

As a BA and other professional, you should strive for a minimum of level 3 feedback for effective communication.  Getting level 3 feedback is not as easy as we may think.   Quite often the barriers to communication will hinder the two parties in reaching a level 3 communication.  That’s why it is important to understand the ideas behind feedback and be effective at giving feedback and asking for feedback in any communication process.

That will often involve some back and forth between you and the person(s) you are communicating with.  It’s ok, to put yourself in their shoes, but you also have to ensure that can repeat back what you are trying to communicate.

What you should know about email

The most popular tool in this 21st Century is email.  Email has changed the way we communicate with others around the world on a daily basis.  One of the flaws in email is how to deal with feedback because things are written can be misinterpreted and taken out of content.  I feel this may not be the best tool to handle feedback.  We can ask for and receive feedback in an email, but how much of the intent of the conversation is lost in the back and forth messaging.  To use email effectively as a communication tool, we also need to give feedback and ask for feedback to get to a level 3 in our communication.   What can you do to obtain and maintain level 3 communication in your life?  Can you maintain a level 3 communication with your use of email?  We would like to hear from you to continue this discussion.

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