What Did You Say?  The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback
What Did You Say? The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback
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What Did You Say?  The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback

Last updated on 2015-03-30

About the Book

What Did You Say? is the second revised edition of a classic book on human behavior, written by three of the most famous organizational consultants: Charlie Seashore, Edie Seashore, and Jerry Weinberg.

Offering opinions is the second most necessary ingredient for human life. Studies show that we can go only three minutes without air, perhaps three days without water, maybe three weeks without food. . . and but three hours without offering somebody our suggestions, responses, or critiques. A perennial "hot" topic in management circles is the process of giving, getting and analyzing advice. 

This brief and engaging book can be of use to anyone who has to interact with other people. You'll enjoy the "read" so much that you may not realize how much you have gained - all in words of one syllable!

How to offer feedback when asked (or hired) to do so. Why feedback tells more about the giver than the receiver. How feedback is distorted or resisted by the receiver's point of view and defense mechanisms. And in dozens of enjoyable vignettes, how humans have struggled to understand each others' responses.

Some Reviews

If I had the power to transport one book back in time and send it to myself, this would be the one. This is the book I needed when I became a people manager. It's also the book I needed when I began to raise my kids. In fact, I can't think of a time in my life when I did not wish I had more of the skills this book teaches. A simple but very deep book that causes a new level of understanding about how to talk to people with each reading. The authors draw on the best ideas from the great psychologists and show how to use them practically in everyday interactions. The short volume is easy to read and full of examples that can be immediately applied. In my humble opinion, this book is indespensible when managing people at work and managing close relationships at home. The conversational and entertaining style is a plus.—R. Fink

Here is my bias - this is a must have book for anyone in the coaching, management consulting, facilitation or training business. In fact it is a must read for everyone. The authors follow a sensible and clear route that would be a benefit to any reader. It is small, easy to read and powerful. The vignettes display excellent examples and the exercises at the end of each short chapter are practical. The italics of fantasy and fact regarding "feedback" makes for an even faster read. You can browse through it quickly to find the passages where you wish to focus.

The book is short and sweet enough but you can find it completely summarized in three pages in the Epilogue. If it sounds as if there isn't much meat to this book, think again. It is deceptively challenging but not daunting. It makes a great reference book that I like to come back to time and time again.—Roberta Hill

I had several 'ahas' reading this clear and entertaining excursion into everyday interactions. Feedback should be given sparingly and taken thoughtfully - with a grain of salt. That's one (of many) useful messages demonstrated here. --Marvin Weisbord, author Productive Workplaces

This is a how-to book about relationships with depth, humor and insight far beyond the ordinary. (The authors) deal masterfully with the contradictory impulses we all feel to 'say it like it is' or flee in terror. --Barbara Benedict Bunker, Organizational Consultant, Professor, SUNY at Buffalo

The authors of this wonderful book have untangled and demythologized feedback! --Elsie Y. Cross, CEO, Elsie Y. Cross Associates

About the Author

Gerald M. Weinberg
Gerald M. Weinberg

I've always been interested in helping smart people be happy and productive. To that end, I've published books on human behavior, including Weinberg on Writing: The Fieldstone Method, The Psychology of Computer Programming, Perfect Software and Other Fallacies, and an Introduction to General Systems Thinking. I've also written books on leadership including Becoming a Technical Leader, The Secrets of Consulting (Foreword by Virginia Satir), More Secrets of Consulting, and the nine-volume Quality Software series.

I try to incorporate my knowledge of science, engineering, and human behavior into all of my writing and consulting work (with writers, hi-tech researchers, software engineers, and people whose life-situation could require the use of a service dog). I write novels about such people, including The Aremac Project, Aremac Power, Jigglers, First Stringers, Second Stringers, The Hands of God, Freshman Murders, Where There's a Will There's a Murder, Earth's Endless Effort, and Mistress of Molecules—all about how my brilliant protagonists produce quality work and learn to be happy. My books that are not yet on Leanpub may be found as eBooks at <http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/JerryWeinberg>; on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B000AP8TZ8; and at Barnes and Noble bookstore: http://tinyurl.com/4eudqk5.

Early in my career, I was the architect for the Project Mercury's space tracking network and designer of the world's first multiprogrammed operating system. I won the Warnier Prize, the Stevens Award, and the first Software Testing Professionals' Luminary Award, all for my writing on software quality. I was also elected a charter member of the Computing Hall of Fame in San Diego and chosen for the University of Nebraska Hall of Fame.

But the "award" I'm most proud of is the book, The Gift of Time (Fiona Charles, ed.) written by my student and readers for my 75th birthday. Their stories make me feel that I've been at least partially successful at helping smart people be happy.

Bundles that include this book

Are Your Lights On?
What Did You Say?  The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback
Exploring Requirements One
Exploring Requirements Two
Becoming a Change Artist
7 Books
$66.93
Suggested Price
$49.99
Bundle Price
Perfect Software
Handbook of Technical Reviews, Fourth Edition
General Systems Thinking
The Aremac Project
Are Your Lights On?
8 Books
$83.92
Suggested Price
$49.99
Bundle Price

Table of Contents

    • What Did You Say?
    • Foreword to the Second Edition
  • Part 1. Facts and Fantasies about Feedback
    • Chapter 1. What is Feedback?
      • Examples of Feedback at Work
      • Feedback May Influence Future Behavior
      • What The Process of Feedback Looks Like
      • Why is Feedback Important?
      • The Secrets of Interaction
      • Examples of Interpersonal Feedback at Work
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 2. Models of Feedback
      • Sigmund Freud
      • Joe Luft and Harry Ingram
      • Norbert Weiner
      • Kurt Lewin
      • Carl Rogers
      • Virginia Satir
      • It’s Not As Bad As It Seems
      • …It’s Worse
      • Experiences
  • Part 2: Giving Feedback
    • Chapter 3: The Compulsion to Give Feedback
      • Even When Requested, Feedback Describes the Giver
      • The Second Most Essential Human Need
      • Nobility Isn’t Good Enough
      • They Have to Want It
      • No Invitation is Forever
      • Some Things Are Worse Than Failure
      • You Ain’t No Saint
      • The Best Use of Giving Feedback
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 4: Giving Feedback When Invited
      • Directly Paid Invitations
      • Indirectly Paid Invitations
      • Handling Indirectly Paid Invitations
      • Friendly Invitations
      • But I Just Had to Respond
      • Know Your Choices
      • The Decision to Respond to a Request for Feedback
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 5. The Fear of Giving Feedback
      • Why Don’t You Tell Them?
      • The Cost of Telling Them
      • Do You Want to Risk Finding Out How They Feel?
      • Do You Want to Get Involved?
      • Do You Want to Get Information?
      • What Are You Up To?
      • Lack of Experience
      • Experiences
  • Part 3. Receiving Feedback
    • Chapter 6. Why Feedback Is Mysterious
      • It Just Came Out
      • Different Perceptions
      • Different Time
      • Different Place
      • Someone Else
      • Inner Feelings about Myself
      • The Receiver’s Task
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 7: The Feedback Prevention Law
      • Ramon Does His Laundry
      • Do More of the Same
      • Our Laws of the World
      • The Law of Conservation of Laws
      • The Feedback Prevention Law
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 8. Finding People to Give You Feedback
      • The Rainbow Bridge
      • Establishing an Environment Through Sorting
      • What’s Needed to Change
      • New Environments
      • The Right People
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 9: Asking for Feedback
      • Feedback Is Life
      • Why Not Ask For It?
      • Hamlin’s Feedback
      • Time as Feedback
      • The Struggle to Get Feedback
      • Why Successful People Don’t Seek Feedback
      • Pseudo-requests and Pseudo-feedback
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 10: What Aren’t They Saying?
      • Applying the Interaction Model
      • The Skunk and the Dalmatian
      • What To Do When Commenting Rules Distort Feedback
      • What To Do When There’s No Feedback At All
      • Displacement of Person
      • Displacement of Subject
      • Displacement in Time
      • Projection
      • Who’s Responsible for the Feedback?
      • Experiences
  • Part 4. Feedback as a Process of Interaction
    • Chapter 11. The Context of Feedback
      • Compatible Goals
      • Acknowledging the Two Realities
      • The Story of Sarah and Rebecca
      • Who Determines the Significance?
      • “Positive” and “Negative” Feedback
      • Affiliative Needs–Approval, Belonging, and Nurturance
    • Chapter 12. Elements of Feedback Messages
      • Power Imposed by the Sender
      • Influence Desire
      • Crazy Phil (Narrated by Charlie)
      • The Gift and the Wrapping
      • Emotional Wrappings
      • “Positive” Wrappings
      • Out of the Mouths of Babes (by Edie)
      • A Child’s Play Model for Checking Feedback
      • Style
      • Substance/Content
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 13. Additional Sources of Difficulty
      • Recording (The Data Question)
      • Resemblance (Transference)
      • Why Compliments Bother Us
      • Handling Complimentary Feedback
      • Implicit Comparisons
      • Pigeonhole
      • Mindreading
      • Why Warm Relationships Stay Cold, Once They Turn Cold
      • Hearsay
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 14. Checking Out Interactive Feedback
      • Getting the Most Information
      • Surprises (by Charlie)
      • The “See How It Feels” Strategy
      • Satir’s Medallion: A Feedback Safety Device
      • Charlie’s Best Lecture
      • Checking Non-specific Feedback
      • How to Ask in Tough Situations
      • Experiences
  • Part 5. Facilitating Improved Interactions
    • Chapter 15. Clarity and Intimacy
      • The Country Girl and the City Girl
      • Clarifying Your Intentions
      • Improved, Not Closer, Relationships
      • The Receiver is Still in Charge of What They Receive
      • Closeness and Ease of Understanding
      • Do I Have to Work So Explicitly on My Messages?
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 16 Clarity and Self Worth
      • Parenthetical Poppycock
      • Stopping, the Universal Intervention for Poppycock
      • What You Can Accomplish when the Pressure’s Off
      • Ratcheting
      • A Process to Stop Ratcheting
      • Preventing Ratcheting with the Feedback Response
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 17. Increasing the Amount and Quality of Feedback
    • The Necessary Environment for Learning
      • The Non-threatening Environment
      • Satir’s Medallion: A Feedback Safety Device
      • The Conditions for Illumination
      • Making Lessons Apparent by Making Them Concrete
      • Making Lessons Dramatic
      • Keeping It Humorous
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 18. Timing Your Feedback
      • Lisa’s Little List
      • Bill’s Big Bill
      • Feedback Interruptus
      • One Word Feedback
      • Automatic Pilot
      • Feedback as an Interruption
      • Countering Feedback From the Past
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 19. Congruent Response
      • Concentrate on Congruence
      • A Way to Start Clearing Interactions
      • The Technique of Giving Internal Information
      • Clarifying Observations and Interpretations
      • Attempting to Influence Congruently
      • Offering Reactions Congruently
      • Exposing Assumptions, Judgements, and Conclusions
      • Behaving Congruently
      • What to Do when You Lack the Courage to Be Congruent
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 20. Feedback Artistry
      • The Art of Giving Feedback
      • The Art of Receiving Feedback
      • The Art of Congruence
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 21. The Feedback Challenge
      • The Focus Is Feedback (by Edie)
      • A Challenge
      • A Tale of Woe
      • Being Responsible and Effective
      • Experiences
    • Chapter 22. Feedback From Yourself
      • Mother’s Law
      • The Foot in Mouth Law
      • The Mouth in Ear Option
      • Experiences
  • Selected, Annotated Resources for Learning about Feedback
  • About the Author

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