Issue 10 of The Complete Guide to Effective Feedback
Making a connection request is like getting a weather report. It also helps you get to the next kind of request you’ll make, once you have connection: a strategy request.
The reason you want to connect with the person first is because the strategy you suggest will depend on what information they share with you.
For example, if you share about your disappointment about someone cancelling a trip and they say, “Yes, I can understand why you’re disappointed—I’m disappointed too!,” that’s a very different conversation than if the person says, “Well, you may be irritated but you never follow through on things either!” If someone pushes back and becomes defensive, there may be something they need to be heard about.
Regardless, going into a specific strategy, such as, “Well, can we plan another trip?” or “Well, it’s the last time I plan a trip with you. Game over!” is premature. After sharing what we’ve seen or heard, how we’re feeling about it, and what need is up for us, it’s key to find out how our message is landing with the other person.
Connection requests are key to giving effective feedback, since what partly makes feedback effective is the other person’s ability to act on what we’re telling them. If we don’t know how they’re seeing things, we can’t come up with a strategy that will work for both of us and be effective. Sometimes it takes a few rounds of sharing observations, feelings and needs and making connection requests before we’re really ready for strategies. Once both parties are clear and connected, it’s usually much easier to find a strategy that works for everyone.
Why? It’s much easier to find solutions once you’re on the same page with someone. So far, we’ve been focused on that: getting on the same page via sharing an observation, how you’re feeling and what you’re needing, and then checking in with the other person, via a connection request. All of this is about connection.
In the next lesson, we going to actually focus on how both parties might meet their needs most effectively through strategy requests.
Meanwhile, take a moment and reflect: When was the last time you made a decision with someone where there was a high level of trust and connection? How easy was it to make the decision and how happy were you with the outcome? Now reflect on the opposite: where you made a decision where there was a lack of trust and connection and collaboration. Which experience and outcome do you prefer?