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I am a localization manager/translator and intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about languages, cultures, diversity management, dancing and good movies.  

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Epictetus, Dumbo and the perfect feedback

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
Epictetus [AD 55–135]

Giving feedback is not easy at all, if you are willing to give a good one. Giving a good feedback doesn't mean ipso facto giving a positive feedback. The feedback can actually be negative, and yet still be a useful, well-structured and insightful feedback. 
You can call it a constructive feedback, if you prefer. It can help to better understand a circumstance or a behavior, to change or improve a situation, to solve a problem. 

Good feedback can make a difference.
It requires facts, observational and analytical skills. 
It takes time. It takes honesty. It takes courage. 

And yet... It can be totally ignored or misunderstood, because getting feedback is not easy too.
There is none so deaf as he who will not hear, as the saying goes.

[Asking for feedback...
No Dumbo's ears required]

A constructive feedback is gold, if you are ready to get it. Ready to accept what someone thinks, even if you disagree with him/her. If you are not ready to do so, don't ask for it or you will waste your time and the time of the other person. And the other person will be less prone to give you an honest feedback the next time.

So before asking for feedback, please be sure to understand the difference between:
- asking for feedback while being ready to actually hear it, no matter what, even if you are not going to like it, at first;
- asking for feedback while actually requiring to hear what you want to hear, even if it's not the truth.
Be honest with yourself about it and then go for what you want.

If you go for an honest feedback, you are not going to regret it, in my opinion.
If you go for something else, most times you will.

Tags: Giving feedback, Getting feedback, Communication, Honesty, Epictetus, Quotes


  1. Thanks for your visit and your comment, Hasibur!
    I am glad that we share the same admiration for Epictetus. He was quite a cool guy. ;)

    Looking forward to hearing from you again!