TAMI EVANS’ book Half
Full of It: Activating Optimism
and Other Hard Core Soft
Skills is an example of her
communication credo: “If
they’re laughing, they’re
listening—if they’re listening,
they’re learning.” Tami is
the 2017-2018 Presidential
Appointee to the NSA Board,
past president of NSA-NYC,
and a serious NSA junkie.
Meet with your
guests a few
your talk or by
email, in advance,
to outline what
kind of feedback
you are interested
in, so they know
what to watch for.
Make it a day!
Meet up for lunch
or dinner with
your guests when
you are finished
to your client;
then spend a few
During feedback, keep
your recorder on, your
mind open, and your
mouth shut. Trust me,
this is easier said than
done. Our natural
tendency is to explain
ourselves, but the value
comes from listening to
what they have to say.
to be part
of a Fellow
If you’re invited to attend
another speaker’s presentation
to provide feedback, keep
these tips in mind.
¢ Find out what type of
feedback the speaker is
looking for. Structure? Impact?
Calls to action? Storytelling
¢ Start with praise. It’s very
hard to open yourself up
to even the most friendly
¢ Keep circling back to their
goal. Get specific about
adding a circle-close, a call
to action, or another element
that naturally comes from
what they are already doing.
¢ Gently help them let go of
things that are not working
well, so they make space for
those that will work.
34 5 6
roiling anxiety, and while I knew the exercise would
help me achieve my lifelong goal of getting better
at my craft, part of me wondered if maybe “good
enough” was good enough.
Thankfully the audience dutifully erupted at my
opening line. Laughter is my fix, so I instantly relaxed
and got down to the serious business of humor and
FUEL YOUR GROWTH
The feedback session that followed was incredibly
powerful. This talented group of caring professionals
systematically grilled and drilled me about goals and
growth. Yes, they o;ered supportive compliments,
but I asked them specifically to share where they felt
I could improve.
Like an e;ective massage, it was a good kind of
pain as they shared ideas around how to tighten,
brighten, and, in some cases, completely change my
Have you ever invited colleagues to come watch
you do your work? If not, do it! It is a deeply e;ective way to improve. Our NSA colleagues know the
business better than anyone and can give you a clear
reaction to what they observe about your performance and your audience. This mutually beneficial
experience also provides them with ideas and insights
they can apply to their own work.
My own Fellow Feedback Forum—Brian Walter,
CSP, CPAE; Karen Walter; Bill Stainton, CSP; Mel
DePaoli, MBA; Linda Keith, CSP; Earl Bell; and Don
Crawley, CSP—gave me a lavish gift of their time
and talent and I am incredibly grateful! Our debrief
around the Walter Wizarding Table was life- and
career-changing. The clarity with which they were
able to help me focus on future goals makes my next
steps actionable in a way that always felt overwhelming before.
Through their honest and heartfelt assessment,
along with many personal stories and laughs, they
helped me identify key pieces to elevate my performance and take the next step on my journey toward
A Fellow Feedback Forum may sound unnerving.
But if your goal is to improve your work, elevate your
o;ering, and remain relevant in the marketplace,
then that’s certainly worth a bit of crunch! ■