Professional Feedback Examples and Tips

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By David Tomas, on 4 June 2024

The term "feedback" is widely used in business and is frequently solicited and provided to both customers and employees. It's among the most valuable resources for enhancing performance, quality of work, and fostering overall satisfaction within a company. Feedback isn't limited to matters concerning the organization's business activities; it also encompasses individuals' sentiments about the company.

In an organizational setting, feedback can originate from and be sought by team leaders as well as other professionals. It can occur on a personal level among a small group of individuals or on a larger scale as part of a business strategy involving numerous stakeholders. Indeed, many organizations regularly seek and offer feedback to their diverse professionals to gauge the organization's trajectory and improve various facets.

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Professional Feedback Examples and Tips

Whether you're a professional looking to give or receive feedback to a colleague or team leader, or you're a company looking to apply it to your entire team or clients, below are 9 tips that will help you give and receive constructive feedback and improve your business.

Giving and Receiving Feedback: The 9 Golden Rules

The following 9 rules are extracted from the insightful book "Smart Feedback" by Jane and Rosa Rodríguez del Tronco and Noemí Vico García.

1. Describe the Facts

When offering feedback, it's more constructive and better received if you refrain from personal evaluations and focus solely on providing objective information. Therefore, it's beneficial to emphasize the facts.

For instance, instead of stating "you're not very meticulous when it comes to doing your work," it's more effective to say "I found several errors in your work."

The distinction between a fact and an opinion is that the latter is an interpretation of a fact that can be subjective, while the former can be verified and substantiated.

Presenting an opinion often leads to more conflict and resistance. Conversely, it's harder to dispute reality when presented with verifiable facts, making objective data more readily accepted.

2. Be Concise

The feedback you give to a person should be specific, meaning it shouldn't leave room for interpretation or the possibility that the other person understands something different from what you actually mean.

It's true that we are responsible for our words and not for how people interpret them. However, we can make an effort to ensure our message is understood as clearly as possible.

Being concise serves not only to ensure clear understanding but also to prevent misinterpretation or exaggeration of the feedback provided.

It's crucial to avoid speaking in general terms or using overly broad adjectives. For instance, instead of saying "you need to improve your public speaking skills," it's more effective to specify actionable areas for enhancement such as "when speaking in public, focus on moving around the stage, articulating clearly, and maintaining eye contact with the audience rather than reading from notes or slides."

Furthermore, when delivering negative feedback, it's beneficial to start with a positive note to encourage the individual and foster receptiveness to the less positive points.

Moreover, negative feedback is best delivered in a private setting to avoid causing embarrassment or discomfort to the recipient.

3. Be Direct

To ensure clear comprehension, it's vital to communicate the message directly without unnecessary elaboration. Be concise and avoid beating around the bush, as this can dilute the significance and impact of the central feedback.

Strive to focus your constructive criticism on no more than two or three key aspects, demonstrating selectivity. Presenting too much information at once can overwhelm the recipient and hinder their ability to effectively process the feedback.

It's also beneficial to dedicate a time solely to providing feedback, rather than incorporating it into other discussions. This approach allows for focused attention on the feedback and enhances its effectiveness.

4. Do It in a Timely Manner

There's no point in giving constructive criticism too late, when the other person can no longer do anything to improve or when the details and perspective of what has been done have been forgotten.

The closer the feedback is to the issue you want to discuss, the better. Ideally, do it within 24 hours for it to have the greatest possible effect, as the person will have the experience fresh in their mind and will be more motivated to address it.

Additionally, it's better not to speak for third parties; it's always preferable to speak in the first person and about behavior you've observed yourself. Otherwise, the other person may feel uncomfortable knowing that you're talking about them behind their back.

5. Provide Suggestions and Questions

Feedback should remain open to discussion and challenges. After delivering feedback, it's crucial to encourage the recipient to share their perspective and ask any questions they may have. Your own viewpoint might evolve after engaging in dialogue with them.

Furthermore, during the feedback process, it's valuable to ask questions that prompt reflection, such as "do you agree with my assessment?" or "what are your thoughts on this issue?"

Additionally, it's advisable to avoid being overly assertive or absolute in your feedback statements and suggested solutions.

6. Maintain an Open Attitude

Moving on to receiving feedback, the essential thing is to put aside your ego and approach it with a genuine willingness to listen to perspectives that may differ from your own, as well as being open to the possibility of change.

This aspect is pivotal for constructive criticism to yield results. Regardless of how effectively feedback is communicated or understood, if the recipient is not receptive to change or unwilling to acknowledge reality, progress becomes challenging.

This underscores the fact that feedback is a mutual exchange, requiring active participation from both the giver and the receiver.

7. Work on Self-Confidence

When receiving constructive criticism, it's very helpful to be compassionate with oneself and internalize that we're not perfect and that we can make mistakes. We should accept constructive criticism for what it is, a comment that aims to be constructive and not a personal attack.

Error can equal learning, and criticism doesn't define who you are; it's just a comment on how you've performed a specific task.

For example, if you're told "you forgot to tell me about this message from a client," you shouldn't interpret it as "you're a very forgetful person."

This principle applies not only to negative feedback but also to positive feedback. When receiving positive feedback, it's natural to feel a sense of pride, but it's essential to maintain humility.

In essence, whether receiving negative or positive feedback, it's crucial not to take it personally. Negative feedback shouldn't be internalized as a reflection of your worth, and positive feedback shouldn't inflate your ego to the point of feeling superior to others. Instead, it's vital to have a clear understanding of yourself and not rely solely on external evaluations for validation.

8. Manage Your Emotions

Closely related to the previous point, something that will also help you accept constructive criticism better is to learn to manage your emotions.

When receiving negative feedback, it's natural to experience feelings of discomfort, sadness, or discouragement. Rather than trying to suppress these emotions, it's important to acknowledge them, understand their source, and allow yourself time to process them. This period of reflection can provide valuable insights into oneself and help alleviate tension.

When faced with constructive criticism in person, a helpful strategy is to practice slow, deep breathing and counting to 5 or 10 before responding. This brief pause allows for a composed and thoughtful reply. Once alone, take the opportunity to further analyze your emotional response and its underlying causes.

Similarly, positive feedback can also evoke strong emotions. It's beneficial to approach these feelings with the same mindfulness, neither suppressing them nor allowing them to overwhelm you.

It's about striking a balance—not stifling your emotions, but also not allowing them to dominate your thoughts and actions.

9. Develop Resilience

Resilience, the capacity to adapt and overcome challenges, varies among individuals but can be cultivated and is invaluable when receiving constructive criticism.

Those with resilience tend to shift their focus from the problem to potential solutions, extracting more positives than negatives from feedback. Ultimately, resilience involves a shift in perspective, viewing oneself as an active agent capable of shaping one's reality.

Accepting adversity as a natural part of life, recognizing personal limitations, seeking assistance when needed, refraining from taking feedback personally, and honing active listening skills are all conducive to building resilience. These practices encourage a proactive rather than passive response to adversity.

People-Led Marketing

David Tomas