The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback

Feedback is not complaining

Feedback is not a personal attack

  • What was your personal experience like?
  • If your experience was good — what was good about it? If it was bad — what didn’t you like?
  • What solutions or improvements can you suggest? What should be kept / done more of?
  • State your personal opinion and highlight it by using “I” statements (Say “I don’t see the benefit of this” instead of “This is useless” or “I’d like to see more of this” instead of “There should be more of this”.)
  • Avoid finger-pointing “you” statements (Say “We need to take this into account going forward” instead of “This should be taken into account” or “It looks like there’s an error on line 34” rather than “You made an error on line 34”).
  • Highlight the positives. Don’t just talk about what you didn’t like, or you’ll run the risk of sounding like you’re complaining. Good feedback is 360 — it covers the full spectrum, both the good and the bad. (Say “I like the choice of colors, but I think we need to play around with the intensity. The color contrast is a bit too stark for my eyes” rather than “The colors are too intense”).
  1. Important background information
  2. What you like
  3. What you don’t like
  4. What can be done about it
  • Giving or collecting feedback as soon as the opportunity strikes (For example: asking a client to fill out a feedback form right after you’ve had an in-person meeting with them rather than putting it off until the “proper time”)
  • Creating an environment where people are encouraged to give their opinion and share ideas (For example: leaving 5–10 minutes in every meeting for questions and answers)
  • Following up on the feedback you got. This will prompt people to give you more feedback in the future as they will see that they are being listened to (For example: circling back on someone’s pitch they delivered earlier in an email).

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