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October 29, 2012

The Feedback Translator

Ever walked away from a review with more questions than answers? You're not alone — 81 percent of women have difficult interpreting critiques. Use this glossary to decode evaluation speak.


"I always put aside extra time to get ready for a meeting, even if it means getting up earlier. If I feel god, I'm more confident and function better." -Diane von Furstenberg

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YOUR BOSS SAYS: "Too edgy"
WHAT IT MEANS: Plainly put, you're not friendly enough. Managers don't see you as approachable, which may be hindering your career. Quick fix: Smile more and make an effort at deskside chitchat.

YOUR BOSS SAYS: "Lack impact"
WHAT IT MEANS: Shyness (being passive in meetings, waiting to be asked questions) can be confused with indifference. As a result, others don't solicit your opinions. Quick fix: Swallow your anxieties and pipe up with ideas.

YOUR BOSS SAYS: "Too emotional"
WHAT IT MEANS: You gesticulate and raise your voice when championing ideas, which suggests you're not in control. Quick fix: Make more eye contact and use just one hand to reinforce your points — it's not as pushy.

YOUR BOSS SAYS: "Not a team player"
WHAT IT MEANS:While often constructed as an inability to work with others, this criticism tends to speak to a standoffishness with coworkers, especially socially.Quick fix: Make it a point to go to office happy hours.

YOUR BOSS SAYS: "Too laid-back"
WHAT IT MEANS: You may not be dressing professionally, are overly familiar with colleagues, or don't convey a sense of urgency about work. Quick fix: Step up your game with a new suit, quit schmoozing, and walk with purpose.

YOUR BOSS SAYS: "Need to dial it back"
WHAT IT MEANS: You think you know best and are too quick to offer your two cents, which leaves others feeling defensive. Quick fix: Wait until someone asks your opinion. Praise their ideas first, then add your twist.

YOUR BOSS SAYS: "Too risky"
WHAT IT MEANS: Your idea of innovation may not align with your company's vision. Your big ideas may be unworkable or off-brand. Quick fix: Watch the office all-star and what elements of her pitches perk the boss's ears.

YOUR BOSS SAYS: "Need to be more assertive"
WHAT IT MEANS: Your voice is not projecting confidence — you speak too softly, engage in baby talk, or end every statement with a question mark. Quick fix: Raise your voice, enunciate, and stop doubting yourself.

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