As a professional, we give and receive feedback. This feedback has the power to motivate us or sadly, demotivate us. Knowing the power of feedback, let’s evaluate how we do it for a meaningful outcome.
The most important thing about feedback is the intention. If you go in with a good intention to help bring awareness to something you noticed, that will show that you have paid attention, and noticed something to be improved.
Before you give feedback, ask yourself why you are choosing to. Almost everyone is sensitive to feedback. Be watchful!
While the receiver may have many things to improve on, choose one thing and give feedback about that thing alone. Restrain yourself from the temptation of giving it all at once. That will only dilute the effectiveness of your feedback.
When you’ve picked that one thing, back it up with instances that made you arrive at that conclusion. Evidence is important while giving feedback as it helps the receiver understand the specific instances when he/she displayed behaviours that were not helpful.
Language plays an important role while giving feedback. Using the right words can trigger an actionable response for the receiver. Do remember, words that you say will be repeated in the receivers head many times over. It is thus important to be consciously using positive language.
Know when to stop
After you’ve given your feedback, and said what you wanted to say, know when to step off the feedback ladder. There will be several reactions to your feedback. Someone will genuinely want to know more about what you said, in which case clarify a few questions they may have and then exit saying think about it and we can continue this discussion. Some others may get angry and start arguing about how your feedback is wrong. In which case, back off. Say thank you for hearing me out and I wouldn’t like to continue this discussion any further. Some others may just walk away. That too works. Most important, remember when to stop and exit.
Feedback is powerful. Use it with discretion, while giving and receiving. I’ll be writing about receiving feedback next time. In the meanwhile, I hope you think of these points when you give feedback the next time.
Do comment about how using these points helped you while giving feedback.