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The Gift Of Giving Feedback

When we are giving feedback we may be giving an appraisal, an assessment, a review, suggestion, and certainly an opinion. Valuable feedback can be any or all of these, and... more.

In some ways, it can be what you want it to be.

The art and science of giving feedback, once learned, provides you with one of the most perfect, effective, and yet simple gifts to give.

How would you like to help the world become a kinder, more joyful place?

Are you keen to help people recognize their own strengths, and empower them toward their dreams? You know what, it's easy.

You don't have to be a brain surgeon, nor a Mother Theresa... although if you happen to be one of those, that's great too!

By learning the art of giving feedback, you can definitely help empower people and energize them toward their goals.

Wonderful side affects of this skill include having better family, social, and professional relationships, retaining employees and club members, and furthering your own personal leadership development.

Giving The Gift of Evaluation

Take a moment and recall the great feelings experienced when you have received a perfect gift. Maybe it was something that fit just right and the pattern, color and texture all delighted you. Somehow it resonated with you and matched your life wonderfully. It likely made you feel a bit special and fortunate.

It's much the same feeling we get when we've given a gift that was received with glee. It's a feeling of connection, of understanding one another, of helping, of appreciation, of meeting the needs of one another in a very pleasant and welcoming way.

Simple gifts, when delivered with care and intent, are fully capable of creating this dynamic boost. They can help propel people onward to their dreams.

When you have become an 'artist' of giving feedback, both you and the recipient of that verbal feedback can feel like a fantastic gift has just passed from one to the other.

Primary Aspects Of Giving Empowering Feedback

  1. Listening

    Real communication begins with listening. And complete listening is much more than just hearing the information that comes in our ears. It means using all of our attention, all of our senses and faculties to gather information about what we will be evaluating.Whether you are giving feedback on a speaking presentation, the learning of a new behavior, or a sporting activity, it is vital to gather as much information as possible.

    We receive and process information primarily through sight, sound, feeling and thinking, so allow all of these to be turned on and tuned in. Begin listening to the words and watching the actions, and from that draw a sense of the meaning being conveyed by both, and to the emotion being delivered.

    Sense it all, feel every nuance, and savor the transmission of information coming through. This will supply you with a rich database from which you will draw to give your feedback.

  2. Commendations

    When we give a commendation, we are basically telling someone how well they have done something... we are complimenting them. So once we have 'listened' to them, we then reflect back the strong points the person has exhibited. We act like a mirror.

    Reviewing research on positive reinforcement drives home the point that commendations are certainly the primary and most important part of giving the gift of effective evaluation.

    Research documentation also indicates that it is best to use the magic ratio of 5 parts praise or commendations to 1 part recommendation or constructive feedback.

    In addition, there is an art to the words we speak in giving supportive feedback, in order to maximize their effect. Just as we gather information through our senses and thought processes, we want to deliver our feedback so that it will 'speak' to the recipients senses and thought processes. There is a very clever way to do this by using sensory language and metaphors.

    Metaphor examples help us understand how this type of communication can speak directly, and often subconsciously, to the listeners information processing systems.

  3. Recommendations

    Recommendations are offered in order to help the person learn something and add to the effectiveness of their skill, presentation, or desired outcome.

    Some people might think that corrective feedback is the most important aspect in giving a performance evaluation, but as important as it is... research reveals that it really plays a subordinating role. And to be of maximum benefit in this secondary role, the constructive feedback must:

    • provide specific focused information... precise
    • let the person know what the undesired affect was on you
    • describe and/or illustrate the new action to produce the preferred affect
    • offer a practice method for them so they can improve

  4. Summary

    A succinct summary will tie your observations neatly together with a colorful ribbon so your gift can be easily carried away!

    In just a couple of sentences, list the compliments and the recommendation for improvement.

    Then offer your congratulations, and your faith that improvement shall be theirs, with a little further application.

Where Are Great Performance Appraisals Helpful?

Always remember why you are giving feedback...

You want to encourage and motivate the person to continue pursuing, and ultimately achieving their goals. You want them to succeed!

Here is a quote by Leo Buscaglio. As you reflect on the art, science and power of giving feedback, consider the various areas of your life where you can use this skill...

"Too often we underestimate the power of a
touch, a smile, a kind word,
a listening ear, an honest compliment,
or the smallest act of caring…
all of which have the potential to
turn a life around."
Leo Buscaglia

We wield a great power in giving the gift of evaluation.

Whether helping a child learn to ride a bike, appraising a fellow toastmaster, or reviewing an employees performance, considered feedback is a treasure to give.

May you go forth bearing gifts!

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