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How to Give Constructive Feedback

We live in emotional times and everyone is SO overly sensitive, don’t you think?  When I’m asked to give my opinion on something, or to give constructive feedback (when I’m marking assignments for instance), I try to follow some guidelines to ensure that: (1) I don’t sound like a jerk; and (2) my message pushes through their emotional state of mind.

Constructive feedback guidelines:

  1. Always start with something positive. No one wants to hear you rip into them right from the get go.
  2. Go into specific details about what needs to be improved upon, or where they failed. Don’t be afraid of hurting their feelings, just tell them what didn’t work well. Use examples where necessary.
  3. Keep it minimal. This shouldn’t be a 30 minute discussion or a 2 page email. Keep it short, to the point, factual not emotional. Don’t overload the person with feedback or they’ll become overwhelmed.
  4. Suggest 1-2 main things that the person should work on. Again, be as specific as possible.
  5. Keep your tone/language professional. Don’t apologize for how the person is feeling or reacting to your feedback. Hearing the truth is more important than living in ignorance of your skill sets.

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