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Feedback Meetings

At our quarterly meeting, one of my colleagues gave a presentation that included overhead projections. On one of his diagrams, I noticed a computational error that changed the accuracy of his conclusion. When I mentioned this in the meeting, I could see him bristle. Afterwards he accused me of hatcheting his presentation. I don't think I did. Was I out of line?

It sounds like his numbers were out of line, and so was his reaction to your comment. However, this assumes that you pointed out the error in a businesslike fashion and without any obvious or subtle verbal jabs.

The purpose of these meetings is often to analyze past performance in various areas and to review the next period's objectives. If there is an error in the analysis, it would be an even larger mistake to overlook it and let the erroneous numbers serve as the basis for future goals.

These types of meetings are most productive when the information that is presented serves as a basis for an open discussion. For example, even if there were no computational error, it is possible that the objectives for the next period are too high or too low, and this is the exact kind of issue that can come out in a free-flowing discussion.

You should meet with this colleague to further discuss what happened. Make sure he understands that you would expect others to analyze your presentation just as thoroughly. You know at least one person who is going to do so.

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