30 March 2011
Recently, a friend asked if I could give her some feedback on a PowerPoint presentation for her education class. I agreed to help her since I have some experience creating PowerPoints for my Smartboard lessons and have been teaching for about twelve years now (maybe thirteen, I lose count). She uploaded the file and went through each slide of her presentation. I told her that she had wonderful images to go with the information on Gardner's Multiple Intelligences, the topic of the presentation. I also gave a "warm" feedback on the organization of the material and the accuracy of the content. So when I gave her "cool" feedback, this is how the conversation occurred:
"I like that you want to include as much information as possible in your PowerPoint. But, you have a little too much information on each slide. I think you should pare it down to a few key phrases and you do most of the description or definition of the material."
"Well, I think I have a great PowerPoint," my friend replied.
"I think it's a great PowerPoint too. But, when people see too much info on a slide they tend to shut down. Also, if all the info is on the slide, they can read it themselves. It would be unnecessary for you to be up there. Try to break those sentence-long bullets to just three to six words," trying to sound less offensive.
"Well, it was good and this is what I'm going to present," she states as she yanks the flash drive out the USB port.
"Are you going to show Ms. R., so she can put in sound like you wanted?" I inquired.
"No. I'm not showing anyone else," she replied abruptly.
"Okay," and I turned my attention towards my lessons for the day.
I often see this behavior with my students. I give them two positive or "warm" comments and one suggestion for improvement. I get resistance because they feel that their work is the best and there is no need for improvement. They are not cognizant of the fact that there is always room for growth. My friend, on the other hand, is much older than I am and should know that suggestions for improvement can help to enhance an individual's work, whether it be a PowerPoint or piece of writing.
As writers, we can always improve in one area or another. As individuals, we must be adaptable. Life is all about change, whether it's a situation or a personal quality within oneself. I feel like I offended my friend but then again, she did ask for feedback. I tried to be as honest and unoffensive as possible. Next time, if there is a next time, she asks for help, I will respectfully decline and refer back to this particular situation.
What are some ways that you give feedback?
How do people in your life handle constructive criticism?
Do you think I could have provided feedback in a way that would have been more constructive?
I'd really like to know.