How to give an Oscar winning performance at Appraisal

How to give an Oscar winning performance at Appraisal

Oscar bod
You can’t have failed to catch some of this year’s Oscar coverage – the hype, the dresses and, obviously, the awards! If I’m honest, I was more interested in the dresses, but that aside, they got me thinking about appraisals.

Though it is highly unlikely most of us will ever get to attend such a glittering party, let alone win one of those lovely golden figures ourselves, most of us will at some point in our career have an annual Appraisal. And in a way, they are quite similar. Much less glamorous obviously, but Appraisals are a recognition of our achievements, as recommended by people in our field.

Also, like the Oscars, there is often a lot of buzz beforehand – the official and unofficial gossip, the nervousness about how you’ll come across in the Appraisal meeting and about what other people in your field of expertise will say about you. There’s also the fear – what if you slip up? What if you don’t win and the feedback is bad? What if the speech you planned to give in the meeting goes badly?

However, receiving feedback and recognition from peers and managers who know your work is a great privilege. Whether you shine when you’re put under the spotlight, or you miss out this time, the feedback you gain means you get a clear picture of what your strengths and weaknesses are, and what you need to work on. Hey, it’s not nearly as glitzy as the Oscars, but both preparing for the meeting and receiving the feedback can and should be exciting. And, like receiving an Oscar, sometimes industry recognition is linked to pay and sometimes it’s just great to know that your skills and expertise are recognised and respected by peers and professionals in your field.

Appraisals also give every employee the chance to take centre stage. They provide you with the opportunity to give a winning speech about yourself, as well as to thank your peers and those you have worked with. 360 appraisals mean the opportunity to give self-feedback, which you can discuss at the meeting and use as a jumping off point to put forward your strengths and give recognition to those who have helped you on projects.

Although Appraisal meetings and the red carpet are in many ways a world apart, they are similarly a platform on which you can express yourself.

Like Reese Witherspoon’s bold and stunning blue dress showed her audience a mature and confident move away from the girl-next-door persona she had in the past and Nicole Kidman’s Gustav Klimt inspired creation showed off her taste and appreciation of art, your appraisal meeting gives you a unique opportunity to display your talents, interests and personality, one to one.

As well as being a place to put yourself forward, Appraisals are also a place where you have the opportunity to give recognition to those who have helped you, or whose work you respect. It is a chance to show you are humble and to show that you value the skills of your co-workers.

At this year’s Oscars, Daniel Day Lewis’ speech was widely accredited as the best in the show. He took time to say ‘I thank my fellow nominees, my equals and my betters’. This was Lewis’ third Oscar, but thanking his betters shows that despite his demonstrable success, he clearly isn’t taking it for granted. He shows he can still be humble, and is still striving for excellence. You too can demonstrate your hard work and consistent effort during appraisal by acknowledging not only your own strengths, but the strengths of others.

Like the Oscars, Appraisals mean it’s not just those people in the spotlight who get all the glory. Those behind the scenes have an opportunity for recognition as well. Whatever your area of expertise, Appraisals mean you get the chance to have your efforts recognised and acknowledged, so make the most of it!

Unfortunately when it comes to both Appraisals and the Oscars, not everyone can be a winner. But even negative feedback is great – it gives you a chance to really utilise and learn from the comments and feedback of others, and to demonstrate the determination and strength to take what has been said and use it to improve future performance.

For example, take Ben Affleck at this year’s ceremony. Affleck won his first Oscar fifteen years ago, and since then, he has been under a lot of criticism for bad career and film choices. However, he learned from it, kept working harder and used that criticism to improve. And his tenacity paid off - this year, he won again. It was the criticism and negative feedback he thanked for his win.

Even the golden girl of the evening, Jennifer Lawrence managed to trip up the stairs, and forget to thank her director. However, she faced up to it, did an interview afterwards, and was so funny and self-deprecating about the whole thing that people actually ended up liking her more.

So although you don’t get to wear a spectacular dress, and (assuming your appraisal meetings are like ours!) there will be a distinct lack of champagne, and much lower salaries on offer – Appraisals and Oscars are in many ways very similar.

Whether you perform perfectly and get lots of recognition and adoration from your peers, miss out this time and leave with some pointers to work on, or lose out completely – Appraisals are a wonderful opportunity to show you mettle and make your presence, skills and ambitions known.

Like Affleck said in his acceptance speech ‘It doesn’t matter how knocked down you get in life, because that’s going to happen. All that matters is that you get back up’.

So take what you learn from your Appraisal, and really use it. If you don’t there is no chance of winning next year. And if you performed perfectly, be proud – just try not to sob too much in gratitude, that really only works on the Oscar stage.

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