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Workplace Wisdom 

Mary Schechter


Checklist for Feedback- Ready To Take The Plunge?

Begin with these two steps when talking turkey with someone and it will be more successful

Have you ever been the recipient of feedback that was more like a scolding, temper tantrum or explosive outburst when you least expected it? If the answer is yes, join the club. Most of us are sadly unskilled and lacking in confidence when it comes to this communication skill. However, the news is good- you can do something today to take that anxiety and shift it toward a better communication exchange.


Of the -10- steps I teach in preparing to give feedback, here are two to get you started:

Ask permission:

Do not blast someone without warning. Ask for their agreement first. Here is an example of what you could say:

“ John, I need to talk to you about something important, do you have a few minutes today or tomorrow?”

Why is this important?

If you have something important to you to share, let the other person know it is important by making a time and place to focus on nothing else. Grabbing someone in the hallway, elevator or other highly trafficked place does not give this impression.

Use the word I not We:

We all run the risk of hiding behind the opinions of others when the heat gets turned up. And yet, we also know that to do so when sharing something like feedback is non-productive to everyone concerned.

It could sound like this:

“ My experience with you has been (fill in the detail here)


“We all think you are….” Or “Everyone has seen you do….”

Why is this important?

Feedback is about OBSERVATION, reflecting back to others what you see in their behavior. It is not your, or anyone else’s subjective opinion. To be true to observation, you can only report what YOU HAVE SEEN. So, go the William Wallace route, be brave and stand for yourself and your experience alone. It will not diminish the power of what you need to share.


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