When I was little girl my mother used to say to me “I don’t want you to get upset, but I must tell you…” And, well, hearing this made me upset!

On reflecting on this, the reasons why are:

  1. I don’t like being told how to feel
  2. There may be a good reason for me being upset
  3. When someone says this, you immediately prepare yourself to be upset!

As an adult we need to be able to give and receive feedback. We need to receive feedback so we can improve, and we need to give feedback for us to get what we need done and to protect our beliefs and values.

And yet for most of us, giving and receiving feedback is hard, we hate doing it, and because of this we avoided it.

I was thinking about this recently when asked by client to include some information on giving and receiving feedback in a workshop I was facilitating. Like most people whose job it is to communicate I have a row of books in my bookcase dedicated to crucial conversations and giving feedback. What I found was the more I read the more confusing it became.

My goal is to make communication simple and easy to implement. This is especially when I only have a two-hour window to be able to get across important information. So, I was delighted when I came across the work of LeeAnn Renninger a cognitive psychologist.

Renninger recommends a simple five-step process.

  • Ask a ‘micro yes’ question
    Get permission to proceed – this prepares them for feedback. Make it short but important.
    “Do you have 5 minutes to talk about…?”
    “I have some ideas on how we can improve things, can I share them with you?”
  • Give data points
    Give specific examples that are delivered in a factual non emotional way without judgement.
    “You said you would get that email to me by 11am.”
    Impact statement
  • Outline the impact of their actions.
    “Because your email was late, I could not include it in the agenda”.
  • End on a question
    This allows the receiver to respond and opens the topic for further conversation.
    How do you see this?
    These are my thoughts, what do you think?
    Can you see my concern?
  • Be proactive in asking for feedback.
    The challenge here is to normalise feedback it and make it something everyone does every day.

Communication like most things in life, is a skill that we can learn. I encourage you to normalise the giving and receiving of feedback in your workplace. When we practice it frequently, it becomes easier for both the giver and the receiver.

And remember – feedback can be good too!

Feedback from my communication workshop

“Thank you so much for your session with us yesterday. It was one of the best presented and most valuable PD sessions I have ever attended throughout my career. I think your message is incredibly valuable, and all organisations would get so much out of it.”

I love helping people shine – if there is anything I can help you with, call me for a chat.

Sharon Ferrier
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