How to give the gift of feedback

Offering feedback isn’t always easy, but following these five tips can help both you and the recipient see it as a gift.

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I first learned about the gift of feedback in grad school. Up until that point I hadn’t thought about feedback as a gift, but it’s just as much of a privilege to offer helpful feedback as it is to receive it.

The key word here is “privilege.” Because feedback is such a special gift, it is critical to focus on the way you deliver it. You have to know how to give feedback in a way that both allows people to appreciate it and makes them want to act upon your counsel.

Feedback has always been an important part of my career. With years of practice behind me, the feedback I offer today is for senior level executives. However, whether you are just starting out or 20 years in, here are a few quick tips to consider:

1. Point out the positive.

This tip should always come first, because it sets the stage for successful feedback. By pointing out the positive first, you can then segue into what needs work. It’s important to have a good balance between the positive performance and the areas that need improvement. Let’s face it: We’re all human, and we prefer to hear the good with the bad.

2. Be specific, and use examples.

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