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Importance of Accepting Feedback Discussed at STN EXPO Reno

On the heels of author Stacey Hanke’s keynote speech at STN EXPO Reno about redefining personal communication techniques that affect influence, Transfinder and School Transportation News announced a new award that seeks to recognize the most influential student transportation operations.

During her keynote presentation on July 19 at STN EXPO Reno, communication and influence expert Hanke noted that feedback is a key component to successful leadership growth, along with accountability and practice.

She noted that professional and elite athletes, for example, spend countless hours behind the scenes honing their skills before stepping onto the court or playing field to perform.

She asked the audience to think of two adjectives that would best describe how they would want to be perceived Monday through Monday, the subject of her latest book, “Influence Redefined.” She said the best leaders remain cognizant of how they communicate all the time, rather than only during the traditional work week.

“What are misconceptions people have of you that you want to eliminate?” she asked.

Hanke noted that if a leader isn’t receiving feedback, especially if they aren’t actively soliciting it, then no one is holding them accountable for their actions or non-actions. Without feedback, most people remain unaware of how they come across to others. Instead, she said, one could be determining their actions and how others perceive them based on how they feel they are conducting themselves rather than how they really are.


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She challenged the audience to immediately start doing three things to determine how they are actually perceived by others. The first, she advised, is for each of the next seven days to ask someone to call attention to when they are clear and concise when communicating, and when they are neither. She also recommended self-recording random conversations and listening to them later to better understand how they feel during the moment versus what they hear via the audio. Video recording is another option to actually see how you come across.

The next challenge, she continued, is to only start speaking in a conversation when you catch the other person’s eyes. This means waiting to speak until there is eye connection with the other person, she suggested. This has become more difficult to accomplish, she noted, since the invention of cell phones and certainly since COVID-19.

Her final challenge and takeaway for the audience was to think of an action that can be taken within the next seven days and find a partner at the show to ensure accountability. In 30 days, she asked the two individuals to meet again and discuss where they’re at with their practice.

John Daniels, vice president of marketing for Transfinder, is interviewed by STN Associate Editor Taylor Hannon on July 19, 2022 during the STN EXPO Trade Show. The company won the "Best Software" category of the inaugural STN Innovation Choice Awards, as selected by attendees. (Photo by Vincent Rios Creative.)
John Daniels, vice president of marketing for Transfinder, is interviewed by STN Associate Editor Taylor Hannon on July 19, 2022 during the STN EXPO Trade Show. The company won the “Best Software” category of the inaugural STN Innovation Choice Awards, as selected by attendees. (Photo by Vincent Rios Creative.)

Meanwhile, Transfinder is also challenging transportation professionals to accept feedback. The company, in conjunction with STN, is looking to identify the Top Transportation Teams in North America. The purpose of the award, according to Transfinder’s website, is to shine a spotlight on the best transportation departments and bus contractors.

In order to apply, school districts and companies must enroll by completing the online form. Transfinder will then send a survey to collect additional information. A main contact person identified by the district or company will receive a link to upload all employee email addresses into a portal.


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Employees will then receive access to a survey and answer anonymous questions on the department/employer in a variety of areas. Transfinder will tabulate results to determine the winners, and participating districts and companies will receive an overview report.

The winners will be celebrated at an event and be highlighted in School Transportation News. The form to enroll will remain open through Sept. 30. Participants will need to complete their surveys over the following month. Winners will be announced in January.

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