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How to Give Feedback — Part Four: Structuring Feedback

Last time, we gave some tips and tricks for actually delivering feedback. Today we will outline how best to structure what you will be delivering.

While most may be familiar with the Sandwich Feedback model, we think that feedback can be more specific and impactful using these five steps.

  1. Purpose First – Just like writing an essay, you must begin with a thesis — a purpose. Explain what the point of the feedback is and why it is important. For example, “I want to review the key website metrics. I want to make sure that we are driving traffic to our website and I want to improve lead generation.” This helps to keep the conversation focused and on topic. If the individual initiated the request for feedback, make sure that you address their needs.
  2. Describe the Process or Action – Begin by using a specific observable action or process that occurred. Avoid using generalizations like “always.” For example, “Yesterday I saw that you posted the Innovation Matrix blog post and it was scheduled to be posted today.”
  3. Explain Why – Explanations are a powerful form of feedback. It goes beyond saying “yes” or “no” to an idea. It answers why or why not. Explanations help to keep the conversation positive, while also inspiring the community to continue to contribute. As well, it makes declining an idea an objective decision as opposed to a personal one, which will help mitigate the effects of rejection for employees. Using explanations you are saying no to the idea, not the person behind the idea.
  4. Opportunity for Response – After giving your explanation, give the person some time to think over your comments, absorb, and respond. Let them ask you questions for clarification or understanding. If they are shy, give them a prompt like, “Do you have any questions for me?” and give them a segue for a deeper discussion.When giving your answer, make sure you address the question that they asked. If you are unsure of whether you answered their question, you can always ask. If feedback is misunderstood or unclear, the recipient will be less likely to follow through with it.
  5. Offer Suggestions Keep your explanations clear and suggestions should be action-based. For example, instead of “Do your reports on time,” try something like, “I’d like to see you complete the website report by friday 3pm every week.” Keep the suggestions actionable, observable, and specific.

Harness the power of employee ideas.