4 reasons introverts are great at giving feedback

ChattingWhen I was still in school, I hated giving presentations. Not only did I have to speak in front of my classmates and teacher, but I dreaded the evaluation that came after. In my own mind, I already knew what I had done wrong, and how I was going to fix it next time. I was acutely aware of every time I mixed up my words or stuttered, or said something irrelevant. And I had to endure the criticism, constructive or not, that came from the teacher. Now of course, most of them meant well and wanted to help me grow, and I appreciated that. But there were others who were very harsh, even when it wasn’t necessary.

There have been times in my life when I’ve given feedback to others. I’ve edited a lot of papers and evaluated people on their speeches and presentations. I’m not saying that I’m good at it, but I realized that I give feedback the way I want to receive it. I think there are (at least) four reasons that introverts, if I may generalize, are good at giving constructive criticism and feedback.

1. We can see the motivation behind people. We can tell if they’ve tried really hard, or if they’ve just slapped something together at the last minute. We’re very good at seeing the small details. Their posture, body movement, and expressions can tell us how they’re feeling. We understand that some people find presentations difficult and that they’ll stumble over words, or forget things. And because we’ve done the same, we don’t judge them for it.

2. We can easily see what needs to be improved. Because introverts take in a lot of information, we hone in on the little details. In a speech, its easy to tell if they’re too note-tied, need more eye contact, or need to open up their gestures. Because we notice everything, we can see the little things they need to work on.

3. We choose our words carefully so that we don’t hurt others. I’ve been cut to pieces by harsh evaluations many times. And then been told not to be, “so sensitive, its for your own good, why are you getting upset”. It got to the point where I dreaded any kind of oral presentation, because of the evaluation that followed. Having gone through this myself, I know how much words, even well-meant words, can hurt. So I’m very careful in how I phrase things. I can get my point across just as well as someone who bluntly states the obvious. I just use tact and courtesy instead.

4. We tend to keep things positive. One of the ways I like to give feedback is in a ‘sandwich’. You start with something you thought they did well. Then you move onto a few things that need work. Then you finish up with something positive. When someone is yelling at you, its easy to start tuning them out and ignoring even the constructive things they say. But if you keep things positive, people are more receptive to making changes.

Do you have any oral presentation stories? How do you give feedback?

Edit: Pearlgirl90 had a great point, these four points might be more related to INFJs specifically rather than introverts in general. But let me know what you think 🙂

Image credit: “text’n’chat” by Niels Linneberg is licensed under CC by 2.0

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6 thoughts on “4 reasons introverts are great at giving feedback

  1. pearlgirl90 says:

    Such a good post, though I think some of these may be more specific to introverted feelers (or INFJs?) than introverts in general. And the sandwich! Thank you so much for mentioning that! I’ve been doing writing critique for a friend of mine, and I didn’t realize it until I was reading your mention of it, but I do that all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Warrior Freya says:

    I gave a presentation for the students in their final months for my degree program. It was a presentation about happiness, and ultimately to remind them that the purpose of life is not to make X amount of money, or to land a job at So-and-So company.

    That they really need to look at what THEY wanted, and not what other people wanted for them.

    It was something I felt very strongly about, strongly enough that I’m going to be doing it again in the new year.

    However, being the introvert hermit champion that I am, I was so nervous before the presentation that I was literally sick.

    Even though I had taught every student in the audience, knew all of the staff present, and was even super close friends with several of the people there, I was nervous beyond belief.

    Of course once I got going I was fine, but I had to get to that point first.

    Because no matter what I do, I’m nervous, the first thing I do is address it.

    I stated, “So all of you know me, and you know that being in front of a large group of people is not my natural habitat. I’m most likely going to have a shaky voice for the first few minutes because my brain thinks that you all are going to try to kill me and the best thing for this situation is to release a metric crap ton of adrenaline into my system.”

    It was so awesome because several people called out encouragement for me. Even someone going as far as to say, “We love you, Jen!”

    It was so awesome.

    I actually had someone record the event for me so my boyfriend at the time could watch it, since he wasn’t able to make it to the presentation. If you are interested you can check it out at the below link. The password is PCC_Forum

    https://vimeo.com/98782864

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ally says:

      That’s awesome that you could share such an important message with the students, it’s definitely what they needed to hear. Thank you for sharing the video link, I’ll check it out after work today 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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