Techniques for Feedback

Dr. Tim Buividas, Ed. D & Taylor Viering | Corporate Learning Institute


There’s always room for improvement. Two-Minute Reads are a free tool you and your organization can use just for that reason.

Feedback is key.

Organizations that regularly give and receive feedback to and from employees produce up to 3 times more revenue when compared to organizations that do not (Globoforce, 2012). Of employees that receive feedback, 82% are better motivated, 78% are more productive, and 81% are more satisfied with their jobs (Red Balloon, 2012).

If feedback is this important, why isn’t there more in the workplace?

Participating in feedback can sometimes be difficult, awkward, or even intimidating. Below are some tips to improve at asking, giving, receiving and acting on feedback.

General Tips for Participating in Feedback
  • Remove distractions – turn off phone, computer, etc. and have an open mind
  • Prepare – have a notepad to take notes, be emotionally and mentally ready, and clear your schedule
  • Be aware of your non-verbals – body language, facial expressions, and stature communicate attitude
  • Stay focused and on topic
  • Follow-up after feedback has been given or received
Asking for Feedback
  • Be direct – ask for feedback directly, without any other intentions
  • Solicit a variety of feedback – constructive, affirmative, personal, professional, etc.
  • Be specific – ask for feedback on a specific project, presentation, etc.
Receiving Feedback
  • Practice active listening – make eye contact, face the speaker, lean in
  • Listen to understand – ask for clarification/specifics when needed
  • Don’t defend or argue – allow the speaker to finish talking before responding; continue to focus on what they are saying rather than crafting a counter or response
  • Accept imperfections – it is impossible to use feedback without excepting shortcomings. Don’t make excuse or rationalizations – you have blind spots
  • Don’t take it personally – feedback is targeted at behaviors, not people
  • Frame it – remember that feedback is an opportunity to learn and grow
  • Reflect – afterward feedback is given, consider the meaning and value
  • Seek out feedback – feedback normally won’t be given unless requested; specify what type you’re looking for (appreciation, coaching, evaluation, etc.)
  • Be empathetic and show appreciation – understand where the speaker is coming from and step outside of yourself; giving good feedback is hard
Giving Feedback
  • Be specific – provide examples and points about the behavior – don’t generalize or use extremes (always/never)
  • Be honest, genuine, sensitive and supportive
  • Be direct and own your feedback – Use “I” statements and avoid “sandwiches” (positive, negative, positive)
  • Provide feedback often – one-on-one, face to face, and in private
  • Allow for two-way communication – collaborate for problem solving and goal setting
  • Provide context – why is the behavior change important to the organization?
  • Deliver feedback promptly/timely – the closer to the observed behavior the better
  • Manage emotions – if things get tense or emotional, call a break or reschedule
  • Be objective – focus on behavior, not character; assess, don’t judge
  • Create buy-in from the receiver

The last part of feedback is acting. Take the valuable information your have just asked for and received and put it into practice! Create goals, track your progress, and follow-up with the person who gave you feedback.


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