How to Give Effective Feedback

feedback

Giving sincere and thoughtful feedback is one of the most powerful ways to continuously improve your team. Here are our notes on giving feedback effectively.

// BENEFITS OF FEEDBACK

Feedback is a gift! Don’t be afraid to give it out, and welcome it when you receive it. Feedback:

  • Helps people grow and develop
  • Builds trust within teams
  • Strengthens team culture
  • Increases team productivity and happiness

// GROUNDWORK FOR FEEDBACK

  • It’s your responsibility to request feedback from those around you
  • You should aim to give out as much positive feedback as constructive feedback
  • The best feedback often comes when you both genuinely care for someone as well as challenge them directly to improve

// HOW TO GIVE FEEDBACK

Use this framework for giving feedback: C.O.I.N.

  • Context: Describe the specific situation you want to discuss
  • Observations: State what happened. Keep to the facts
  • Impact: Explain the impact that this behaviour had on you, those around you, and the situation. Let the receiver ask questions to clarify things if necessary.
  • Next steps: Discuss ways to improve things, and come prepared with a suggested solution
    C.O.I.N.​ … because feedback is valuable! 😉

// FEEDBACK TIPS

  • When: Real-time is best. 20-30 min every 3 weeks is a good place to start.
  • How: Keep updated notes on positive things and things to improve. Spend 15 mins preparing for the chat before it happens.
  • Where: Make sure you have your feedback conversation at the right place and time: go for a walk or find a cafe. If the situation gets too emotional, take a break and revisit the conversation the next day

Network Like a Champion

People networking

// PREPARE BEFORE THE EVENT

  • Know what you want out of it. Not every event is worth attending, and you’ll get most out of events if you can tell people concisely what you are looking for.
  • Research who will be there. Targeting 1-2 people provides you with some focus and helps you make the most of your time.

// ACTIVELY SEEK THE PEOPLE YOU WANT TO SPEAK TO

  • Find one of the organisers and ask them who is there and who they think you should speak to. It’s an easy way to get started and often leads to the best conversation of the evening.
  • To open a conversation yourself approach a group and ask: “Do you mind if I join you?” Everyone is there to network, so they will be glad to meet another person.
  • If you’re looking for someone specific, ask: “Are you X?” As long as you are polite there’s no reason for them to be offended if it’s not them.
  • Don’t creep up on people from behind. If they have their back to you, go around them so you can approach from the front.

// BE INTERESTED AND HELPFUL

  • Find out everyone’s name, and ask them who they are hoping to meet. Be attentive and ask questions if necessary to really understand them.
  • If you work out two people would be interested to talk to each other, make the introduction. It makes you look friendly and well-connected, and is excellent at generating a little karma for yourself.
  • Once you’ve listened to them, it will be natural for them to ask about you. If they don’t it’s fine to just tell them at this point, as you’ve already been polite enough to listen to them!
  • Be concise about what you are after. Offer just enough informative to pique their interested if they are the sort of contact you are looking for.

// KEEP MOVING

  • Once you’ve agreed to follow up, or decided that someone isn’t interesting at this point, move on. The opportunity cost of staying talking to the same person too long is missing out on meeting someone else more interesting.
  • Remember everyone is there to network. Gracefully exit a conversation by saying something like: “Well, I don’t want to take up any more of your time – I’m sure there are lots of other people here you want to talk to.”

// FOLLOW UP

  • After a particularly interesting conversation, step to one side and make some notes on your phone. It’s unnatural to do it whilst you’re actually talking to them, but easy to forget details, so jot down anything essential.
  • After the event, add people you want to stay in touch with on Linkedin, or send them a quick email to say you enjoyed speaking to them. Another touch point will make you stick in their mind.
  • Finally, set a reminder in your calendar to follow up with people if there aren’t immediate to dos. Either your or their circumstances might have changed in a few months.