My name is Justin Turner, the RC of the Southeast US and I’ve been interested in talking about and promoting feedback within the program alongside Riki for some time. It only made sense that I eventually started to contribute on this blog! I want to talk about the feedback that isn’t in writing, face to face feedback. So hit play on this song here and let’s get to business!
Face to face feedback is the most important feedback you can give for a multitude of reasons. The first is that you are actually engaging in discourse. This means communication is going two directions. If your goal is mutual improvement, which it should be for feedback, then you have a greater chance to have learning on either side or on both sides if you are in direct communication. The second is that you can fact check yourself before writing a review if you talk about the reasons behind the behaviors you were able to observe. This could turn a strength into an area for improvement or vice versa, it could also turn into you adopting a similar thought process in your own judge life! The third is you can use body language and facial expressions in your communication. This helps put the subject at ease and helps make sure you are being understood. A lot of our language is colloquial and there are a lot of ways to interpret written information, when in person using language, it’s much easier to convey a single thought and not have things open to interpretation. This also sets you up to be able to write a more robust written review following the conversation.
I want to talk about the way to do set up a face to face feedback session in this first blurb. You want to make sure you have relative privacy. By relative, I mean a place where people aren’t directly listening into your conversation. Feeling like they are being watched or listened to will cause your subject to become defensive or potentially disengaged from the feedback session. This can be a table not in use, a seat on the stage, a side room, the judge area if it’s currently unoccupied or the deck check area after deck checks have been completed. Make sure you are at the same rough eye level with the subject. Don’t stand over them or make them stand over you, this can seem confrontational. Let the person you wish to communicate with get comfortable, then get on their level and begin. Have some notes and smile! In future updates, we will go into how to conduct these sessions and what things are important to talk about. This is Turner signing off, keep it face to face!