Book: Let’s Talk

Let’s Talk: Make Effective Feedback Your Superpower (Amazon) was so good – I read an interview with the author, ordered it immediately, read it soon after, and was already recommending it to people a few chapters in.

It’s a book about feedback, which, cool, plenty of them, and plenty of conversations about feedback. The thing that’s different here is that it’s not simplified processes or models – it’s a book about how people respond to feedback and how to work with people’s normal reaction to help them effectively work with the feedback you have for them.

Some key takeaways:

  • Side with the person not the problem – this is huge, it depersonalizes the feedback and puts you on the same side as the person you’re giving it to, better positioning you to help them address it.
  • More positive feedback, it makes people feel seen – I love this, and have believed this for years – great to have the research and external source to back it up.
  • Listen first, it makes people more receptive – again, something that I have tried to practice for a while, it’s good to have the validation and encouragement and something better to offer other people than my own opinion.
  • Create the space to neutralize defensiveness – builds on the previous two. If someone’s feeling defensive (like they don’t feel their hard work or strengths are recognized, they haven’t had the opportunity to explain), they are less likely to hear you. But beyond that, if you’re going to give someone really tough feedback, this is about creating the space and being willing to walk through it with them.

At the end of every chapter, there’s a useful summary that will make it easy to refer back to, and at the end there’s section on how to do deliberate practice. It’s so helpful, and I highly recommend it.