How to Give Feedback

Croissant SandwichHere’s how to communicate a piece of feedback about something personal, such as the off-color jokes your partner told at the office party, or the short skirt your daughter wants to wear to her new waitressing job, or the thank you note that your ten year old still has not written to his grandma.

First tell the person you have some brief feedback to share and ask if they’d be open to hearing it.

Then ask them when a good time would be for the two of you to talk in private. This part is really important — embarrassment definitely interferes with trust and open communication.

Serve up a feedback sandwich:

brief feedback in an I-message
invite them to share their response
acknowledge their perspective
compliment/good wishes

Here’s how it can sound:

I think it’s terrific that you got a job!
I’m concerned that you might receive some
uncomfortable attention from customers if
you wear that skirt to the restaurant.
What do you think about that?
Sounds like you want to wear it today
and see how it goes so you can make
an informed decision next time.
Thanks for listening, and I hope
your shift goes great today!

And of course feedback sandwiches should always be garnished with a big helping of respect for the other person’s right to do with it as they wish.

Hope this helps!

How to Give Feedback2016-11-23T09:38:49-06:00

How to Avoid Painful Misunderstandings

He says: Are you sure you want dessert?Chocolate Cake Slice with Raspberries
She hears:  Haven’t you had enough? You should eat less.

He meant:  If we leave right now maybe I can still catch the last quarter of the big game on TV.

When our feelings get hurt while communicating with loved ones, we are typically reacting to what we think the other person meant rather than to what he or she actually said.

However, since meanings are frightfully easy to misinterpret (and most of us are not very good mind-readers), the next time you start to feel angry, defensive, or hurt by something someone has said to you, try responding like this:

I’m not sure what you mean by that…

in as gentle and neutral of a tone as you can.

By putting your reaction on hold until you are clear about the other person’s true intention, you’ll be able to derail unnecessary conflicts before they drain time, love, and energy from your relationship.

How to Avoid Painful Misunderstandings2016-11-23T09:38:49-06:00

Don’t Make This Mistake When Customers Contact You

This tip might seem ridiculously simple, but you’d be shocked at how often it doesn’t happen.Hand Holding Telephone Receiver

Make time in your schedule every single weekday to return phone calls and respond to emails from current and prospective customers.

Even better, schedule TWO times to do this each day, one just before lunch for messages received in the morning, and one just before close of business for messages that come in during the afternoon.

Responding very promptly, even if all you do is acknowledge that their communication was received, sends a powerful message: I value your business and I am here to help.

If you need additional time to gather information or research your response, I recommend closing the communication loop at the end of the day with something like: I am working on your request, and will get back to you tomorrow with the answer to your question.

Don’t Make This Mistake When Customers Contact You2016-11-23T09:38:49-06:00

Scorekeeping Belongs in Sports, Not Relationships

Football ScoreboardThe idea you owe me causes a great deal of suffering and conflict in relationships. Obligation is never a satisfying motivation, whether you are on the giving end or the receiving end of the resulting action.

Our minds often keep score in our relationships, and then try to guilt ourselves or others into keeping the tally even.

But our hearts simply want to give, and hold no expectation of reciprocity.

Try conducting yourself as if no one owes you anything, and see how your relationships change.

Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth,
“You owe Me.”

Look what happens with
A love like that,
It lights the Whole Sky.

– from The Gift – Poems by Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky

Scorekeeping Belongs in Sports, Not Relationships2016-11-23T09:38:49-06:00

Don’t Make This Mistake in a High Conflict Joint Custody Situation

MP900387517In high conflict joint custody situations, the less you need to negotiate with your ex, the better. So do your best to honor the parenting time schedule exactly as it was outlined in your written agreement.

If something comes up that requires you to be away from home during your parenting time, don’t try to negotiate a change in the parenting schedule. Instead ask a family member or friend to care for your child, or hire a beloved babysitter.

You can avoid a lot of stress and conflict by refraining from asking your ex to be flexible in order to accommodate your needs.


Don’t Make This Mistake in a High Conflict Joint Custody Situation2016-11-23T09:38:49-06:00