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Giving and Receiving Feedback

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Giving and receiving feedback

In a broad sense, feedback is simply verbal or nonverbal communication between two or more parties. So, why are so many of us afraid of the word feedback?

People often think of feedback as being synonymous with criticism because feedback is given, in most circumstances, when expectations have not been met. As humans, we all have the desire to fit in with our society’s social norms and please those within our community by meeting expectations. Feedback is an essential part of our personal life and our work environment, making, giving and receiving feedback successfully critical.

Giving and receiving feedback

As shown in diagram below, we are constantly surrounded by feedback as we see the consequences of our actions and how our actions affect the impressions of those around us.

Giving feedback

Many are not aware that giving successful feedback is affected by more than just the words used to communicate. Words used to tell ideas are only 7 per cent of your communication, your tone of voice comes out to 38 per cent and your gestures are equivalent to 55 per cent of your total communication.

As a result, the effectiveness of communication is related to how well one mirrors the culture and behaviors of the person to which one is talking. Matching a person’s voice tone, tempo, body posture, movements, and gestures creates a feedback environment where the ideas being communicated are easily understood.

Giving feedback

In addition to mirroring the person you are communicating with, there are nine easy steps that can be followed when giving feedback.

1. Be clear about what you have to say.
2. Emphasize the person’s ability to change in a positive way.
3. Avoid general comments and clarify pronouns such as “it” and “that” so the person understands exactly what you are attempting to communicate.
4. Make sure to pick the right time.
5. Focus on the behavior that can be changed rather than the person or your opinions.
6. Be descriptive rather than evaluative.
7. Own the feedback by using “I statements” that clarify your feelings related to the person you are giving feedback to.
8. Avoid generalization words such as “all”, “never”, “always” etc.; rather, use more specific examples of the behavior you are trying to change or encourage in the future.
9. To ensure mutual understanding after giving feedback, ask the person you are communicating with to restate their understanding of the issue being discussed.