Active listening (part 2) – The importance of feedback

board with word feedback

Some months ago, I worked on a blog about the importance of Active Listening (you can read it here). Some people contacted me on the networks to contribute to that article, and that is why today, I have decided to do a second part.

Today, I will focus on an element that, complementing active listening, ensures truly effective communication: feedback.

I will discuss how to analyse, apply and communicate the information obtained through some techniques and software so that the feedback can help you change ordinary interactions into dynamic relationships with your audience.

The importance of feedback: Reasons and benefits

Feedback is a unique tool for the growth and effectiveness of organisations and institutions. Understanding and acting on feedback allows them to be more adaptive, relevant and effective. Throughout my career, I have observed how teams that prioritise listening to and analysing feedback are noticeably more effective in their communication, choosing channels and messages that align with their targets’ emerging trends and needs.

Feedback analysis

Analysing feedback is fundamental to understanding and respecting your audience’s generational and cultural diversity. This process involves segmenting and drilling down on the information received to identify patterns that will guide the adaptation of your communication strategies. In doing so, you acknowledge the value of your audience’s feedback and improve your ability to respond effectively to their needs and future challenges.

Practical application of feedback

Once analysed, effective feedback application is crucial to developing new communication. You will need to adapt content and strategies to reflect emerging needs and preferences, from iterating messages to adjusting distribution channels and developing new ways to overcome cultural and technical barriers for better inclusion.

Fostering continuous dialogue and constant improvement

Ongoing dialogue and continuous improvement are vital to maintaining organisational relevance and effectiveness. Taking a proactive approach to soliciting and using feedback strengthens your organisation’s resilience, fostering an environment that values and acts on the perceptions of its audience.

Continuous evaluation and communication of improvements

Implementing a constant feedback and evaluation cycle allows you to keep your communication strategies dynamic and aligned with the needs of your audience. This process includes:

  • Regular feedback gathering: It will keep you informed about the changing perceptions of your audience.
  • Measuring impact: Using metrics such as interaction and satisfaction rates to evaluate the effectiveness of our approaches.
  • Strategic adjustments: Modify tactics based on analysis to reinforce what works and adjust what does not.
  • Transparent communication: Inform your audience about how their contributions have influenced improvements.
digital screen with a review

In these first two sections, I wanted to lay the groundwork for understanding how feedback strengthens active listening. Are you ready to see how we can apply all these concepts through digital tools and techniques? Let’s continue!

Techniques and software for effective feedback

A leading method in this field is Jack Zenger and Joe Folkman‘s FUEL, designed to structure effective coaching and feedback conversations. This method follows four steps: Frame the conversation, Understand the current state, Explore the desired state, and Lay out a success plan.

Zenger and Folkman are renowned for their practical and empirical approach to leadership and personal development. Their paper, ‘ Feedback: The Powerful Paradox, ‘ offers valuable and accessible insights into how to make feedback a helpful gift and improve feedback practices. You can download this free resource from their website to explore how to ensure the most significant benefit for both the sender and receiver of feedback. 

In addition to methods such as FUEL, using digital tools to gather valuable information through surveys is crucial.

Survey Tools: SurveyMonkey

Technology plays a crucial role in modernising feedback processes, and software can significantly deepen and improve the analysis and application of the results obtained.

For me, SurveyMonkey is one of the most popular options, as it offers useful features for creating surveys and analysing this data. Here are five things that make this software a must-have for feedback:

  1. Ease of use: It is an intuitive platform with advanced options for users requiring more detailed and customised surveys.
  2. Customisation: SurveyMonkey excels in this area, offering various customisation options, including multiple question types, skip logic and professionally designed templates.
  3. Data analysis: Its advanced analysis tools, including filters, cross-comparisons and trend analysis, make it suitable for in-depth research and tracking feedback over time.
  4. Integration with other tools: SurveyMonkey also offers robust integrations, including CRM platforms such as Salesforce, marketing tools such as Mailchimp, and cloud storage services such as Microsoft OneDrive.
  5. Cost: It offers a free basic plan, with limitations on the number of questions and responses per survey. Paid plans provide more functionality and support, which is suitable for businesses requiring more sophisticated capabilities.

The choice between SurveyMonkey or other survey software depends on your specific needs. If you are looking for a simple and free solution for primary surveys, Google Forms might be sufficient (although I would like to remind you that the data received is stored in the USA, and they do not have the same GDPR law as the EU). However, SurveyMonkey would be the recommended option if you need more complex and detailed surveys with advanced analytical capabilities.

person doing a survey in a computer

Advanced analysis tools

Implementing advanced analytics techniques is also advisable. Salesforce’s Tableau or Microsoft Power BI facilitate the visualisation of complex data, enabling better feedback interpretation through effective centralised data management.

These systems not only identify trends and patterns but, when integrated with CRM, allow for efficient information management. However, using these digital tools must be complemented by adequate training and an approach that preserves the human element in the interpretation of data, ensuring that technology is supported and does not supplant empathy and critical judgment in decision-making.

Conclusion

The process of active listening and feedback is a continuous journey of learning and adaptation. It is fundamental to transforming previously forgotten interactions into dynamic and meaningful relationships with your audience.

I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn to discuss and deepen these strategies further.

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