Our ability to form and create relationships relies heavily on communication, and one of the pillars of communication is the act of offering feedback. Whether a large confrontation at work or providing a micro validation to a close friend, feedback is an integral part of our lives, yet very few people have mastered the art of effective feedback.
In a Ted Talk from cognitive psychologist Leeann Renninger titled 'The secret to giving great feedback,' the narrator dives into the world of feedback, revealing that a shocking 26% of employees are satisfied with the way they're offered it. Most often, people fall into two camps when receiving feedback: they are confused and don't realize what's being communicated to them, or they get defensive because the feedback is too direct.
After extensive field research, it was discovered that the best feedback givers take part in a four step process. The first step is 'The Micro-Yes' - a short but important question to kick-off the interaction. It sets the tone for what's to come, preparing the receiver - an example includes "Do you have 5 minutes to talk about that meeting?" Step two is called 'Data Point' this involves cutting out any filler words and ambiguity, and getting right to the point. The narrator suggests that "We need you to be more proactive" can be replaced with the real problem, for example, "That email should have been sent prior to the meeting." This also applies to positive feedback. The third step is the "Impact Statement," this is where the feedback giver can inform the receiver how their actions made them feel. Lastly, 'The Question' - great feedback givers end their feedback with a question. Examples include "Do you think this is fair?" "What about your perspective?" - this question opens the dialogue, and provides two-way communication.