The Worst Way to Give Feedback to Anyone

As we go about our daily lives, sometimes it is necessary to give feedback to people we interact with. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines feedback as the transmission of evaluative or corrective information about an action, event, or process to the original or controlling source.

In our interpersonal interactions with people daily we observe and make judgements and by human nature, we are more inclined to criticize and condemn than to understand and acquit.

one star review - feedback

I was recently interacting with a close friend and in the process of trying to give me feedback, the person went about it in a critical way, and succeeded in achieving the opposite effect. It takes a grown-up person to accept feedback and grow from it, but it takes a caring and loving person to give the kind of feedback that inspires and motivate the other person to learn and grow.

Criticism is the worst way to give feedback to anyone. Praise is the best way to give feedback to everyone. Find what is commendable, and expand so much on it that it urges the person to do more of what has been done well, and less of what was not acknowledged. I am not advocating for ignoring what is not being done well. Use the pareto principle: “80 % of our results come from 20% of our efforts.” In this case, mention what was not done well or what could be improved at about 20% of your total time, and spend the rest 80% of the time to praise and encourage the person on whatever positive (regardless of how minuscule) observations you could make.

Next time you are to give feedback, critique or condemn someone, hold you tongue and reflect on the most impactful way to do it. Praise always goes further than criticism.

The “Perfect” Phishing Email

A few years ago one of my sisters forwarded me an email to ask me if it was legitimate. The email claimed she had won a lottery she did not remember even playing. The email was instructing her to follow a few simple steps to claim her prize. Obviously, I responded and told her to forget about it. It was a classic scam.

Today’s cyber criminals are much more sophisticated. As much as developers leverage modern technologies to create more secure applications, cyber criminals do the same to swindle their victims. Phishing is one of the easiest forms of gaining access to the login credentials of an unsuspecting user. It consists of sending fraudulent emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to induce recipients to divulge personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers.

One phishing email came through my inbox today and it was so well crafted that I decided to showcase it. It has all the elements to be the perfect phishing email. Below is a screenshot of the phishing email. Below, I explain what you can look out for to help you in assessing that this is a phishing email.

Here are the red flags that make the email suspicious:
A. The email is sent from mailbox.com but the sender is speedataweb.com
B. Moving the mouse over the link reveals (at the bottom of the page – destination preview) that the destination is not the link in blue.
C. The Google Team would never send out an email signing with a different domain. 
D. Mail Systems Incorporated is not related to Google nor Speedataweb.com. How are they the ones sending that email?

Besides those red flags, the email is actually well crafted. It refers to a specific problem and creates a sense of urgency by providing a deadline to act by, along with consequences if nothing is done.

The goal of that phishing email is to trick you into providing your account username and password into a fake login form. I must say that Google does a good job of detecting and alerting user of potential phishing login pages. Thank you, Google. You take a lot from us, but you also give a lot. 🙂

If you receive an email that looks suspicious, there is a directory of phishing scams you can visit and see if it already catalogued there: https://scam.directory/niche/phishing.

If it looks or feels fishy, it is probably phishing. Don’t let the “almost” perfect phishing email trick you. 

Step into Your Greatness

Here are notes from watching the Step into Your Greatness talk by Les Brown published by BetterLifeMedia.

  • Most people fail in life because they aim too low and hit.
  • Make the committment first and figure out how later.
  • It’s not what you leave to your children, it’s what you leave in your children that matters.
  • Speaking is a projection of who you are, not who you think you ought to be. 
  • It’s not what you don’t have, it’s what you think you need that prevents you from being successful.
  • When the dream is big enough, the odds don’t matter.
  • It’s OK to fail your way to success.
  • Make no and rejection your vitamins. Every NO brings you closer to a YES.
  • You must be willing to do the things today others won’t do, in order to have the things tomorrow others won’t have.

That’s about it. Great timeless words of wisdom delivered by a master communicator. Thank you, Les!

Who’s watching your blind spots?

During my graduate school days I once developed the habit of exercising (few push ups and jumping jacks) throughout the day. I was having class in the evening at school and sometimes I would go straight from work to school. The exercise was mild, and I did not usually break a sweat since it was just designed to keep blood flowing through me and prevent me from getting too stiff staring a the computer screen the whole day. Since the exercise was mild, I didn’t ever feel the need to take a shower or freshen up before getting to school from work. 

I never realized how stinky I was until one day a close friend approached me, drew me to a corner and said:
Friend: Lionnel may I tell you something?
Me: Yes, go ahead.
Friend: Are you coming from the gym?
Me: No. Why?
Friend: It’s as if you forgot to take a shower. You stink.
Me: Is it that bad?
Friend: I could perceive it so what do you think?
Me: Thank you for letting me know. Now I don’t feel like going up to class anymore.
Friend: Don’t worry, let’s go to class. Just make sure you don’t hug anyone else and you take a shower next time.

I could not smell my own stinkyness. That was a blind spot. Something I was too close too to realize it could be a problem to others around me. I felt horrible when I realized I was so stinky that the smell was a nuisance to others around me. At the same time I felt grateful that there was someone who cared enough about me to draw my attention to something I was responsible for that was not good for me and for those around me.

None of us are perfect beings, and in our imperfection, we all need someone around us to watch our blind spots for us. And to care enough to let us know when there are things we might be doing that are potentially detrimental to us. It could be anyone from the circle of people we associate with: friends, family, colleagues and even acquaintances.

Who is watching your blind spots?