What Ben Franklin can teach us about giving feedback

Unfortunately, for many entrepreneurs, offering feedback revolves around one shortsighted mantra: “It’s all about the Benjamins.” Well, the next time a “Benjamin” lands in your wallet, you may want to think about that old guy on the front. In his younger years, this wise old sage had a tendency to be brash and forthright. The advice of a buddy shocked him—like a key in a thunderstorm—out of his youthful ways and into the diplomat we remember today.

In this chaos-crushing clip, we break down the basics of giving feedback like old Ben. This video may save your business unwanted turnover, which will, in turn, save some more Benjamins. After all, “a penny saved is a penny earned”…even if Ben didn’t really say that.

Click to tweet this: When giving feedback, go from “being frank” to “being Franklin.” @DaveCrenshaw

Video transcription:

Does it ever seem to you that other people are resistant when you share your feedback or your opinions?

I learned a powerful lesson from the autobiography of Ben Franklin. In it he tells a story that when he was younger, a friend pulled him aside one day and said that he was coming across as proud and overbearing when he shared his opinions.

Ben was using fixed words such as “undoubtedly” or “certainly.” But instead, the older, more wise Ben began using wise words such “it could be” or “perhaps” or “maybe.”

This is a great way for all of us to express our opinions. It gives the opportunity for us to be wrong.

Me and my clients have played a little game where they’ll sit in the circle and each person will say something about the other person that’s true, but use softening word such as “It seems to me that you’re eyes are blue.”

Now it’s your turn. In the comments section below, I’d like you to share one thing about yourself that is absolutely true. But use a verbal softener to describe it, such as “I might be wearing a brown vest.”

Also, if you have a question you’d like me to answer in a future video, ask that below as well.

Thanks for watching. Now go be like old Ben.

Join the conversation: Share one thing about yourself that’s absolutely true but a use verbal softener to describe it.

I respond to every question and comment. So, please, join the conversation!


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