The ability to give and receive feedback graciously is central to most corporate jobs. And yet, we’re all, for the most part, pretty terrible at it, according to Gallup polls and psychiatrists.
In a recent TED Talk cognitive psychologist LeeAnn Renninger covers the two types of feedback we’re most likely to give:
- Soft feedback that’s so indirect, people don’t realize they’re getting feedback
- Feedback that’s so direct it makes the other person sense a threat
As Renninger puts it, neither approach is “brain friendly.” She presents a four-part formula for feedback:
- Ask a short, context-setting question, like “Do you have a minute to chat about that presentation?”
- Be specific. Instead of saying “You seem like you don’t care about this project,” give a concrete example of something that happened.
- Make an impact statement about how that action impacted you.
- Wrap it up with a question that puts the ball back in the other person’s court to create a commitment: “Eva, what do you think we should do?”
By the way, this technique works for positive feedback too!