Each one of you is faced with the challenge of giving feedback each day. Whether it is on a stimulating topic in class or something as simple as telling a friend whether or not you like the outfit that they have on, giving feedback is something that everyone has had experience with. However trivial this process may seem, it is imperative that one understands its importance. This semester I took a course called En101, or College Writing. In this class we are required to give feedback on essays and articles. Giving negative feedback is often easier than giving positive feedback. In fact, most people would probably admit that giving positive feedback is very difficult for them. The same things applies in my College Writing class. Most students find that the most difficult thing to do in this class is to give feedback without saying something negative. However, we all have to learn how to give positive feedback, or be prepared to face the consequences. For instance, imagine what would happen if your best friend asked you whether or not he had a good chance of dating a girl that you know. If you laugh in his face, he may never speak to you again, and if he is really sensitive and truly values your opinion, he may never date again. Okay, so this example may seem a little extreme, but have you ever sat down and really considered the effect that your words may have on someone? Perhaps now is the time to do so.
If you are someone that has no idea how feedback can truly affect a single person's ideas or feelings, I invite you to sit in on my eight o'clock morning class for College Writing. As the students shuffle in, half asleep, a few nervous classmates sit quietly at their desk...
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...sten to you. Once you begin with a negative comment, it is difficult to repair the damage. It is even more difficult for the people that have gone through life not really understanding how to give feedback correctly. However, maybe these people can surprise everyone by learning how to give positive feedback. It is amazing how much a nice comment can mean to someone, especially authors. After all, authors are very sensitive people. They have worked hard on creating their paper, and generally do not like to hear negative things about it. However, when you phrase your comments just right and create a positive atmosphere, you will be surprised at the difference. So as you move on to read another essay or go meet a friend consider the power of your words. And if your friend really has no chance in dating that girl, find a better way to say that than laughing in his face.
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