Mark Needham

Thoughts on Software Development

Feedback: Easing in

without comments

One of the most common techniques of feedback which I’ve come across is one that William Noonan describes in ‘Discussing the Undiscussable‘ as easing in.

From the book:

Easing in is a skilful strategy whereby I try to get the other person to come round to my point of view without my stating it directly.

From my experience we’ll try to do this because giving our point of view could lead to an awkward conversation so we’d rather they express our opinion for us instead.

Amusingly I managed to create an example of easing in while showing a colleague (colleague 1) the chapter about easing in!

We’d been involved in a conversation the previous evening with one other colleague (colleague 2) where colleague 1 was asking leading questions to colleague 2 in order to get colleague 2 to confirm an observation that colleague 1 had made.

It didn’t really work because colleague 2 had a different opinion of the situation so the conversation eventually petered out.

The next day I was reading the chapter on ‘easing in’ and showed it to colleague 1 expecting that they would immediately recognise what I was talking about.

Unfortunately that’s not what happened and my colleague just read the part I pointed out and then handed the book back without any comment.

Having realised what I’d done I went and spoke with them about 20 minutes later and described how I thought the chapter had some relevance to the conversation of the previous evening.

We then had the chance to discuss the idea of easing in a bit more and now both of us are more aware of the concept and try to avoid doing so when giving each other feedback.

Written by Mark Needham

April 13th, 2011 at 2:33 am

Posted in Feedback

Tagged with