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Giving Feedback Online Effectively

When giving feedback, consider the ultimate purpose of feedback from both perspectives - the recipient's as well as the provider's. Feedback is all about communication, and providing feedback is a skill that comes more naturally to some. Giving feedback effectively is a skill that can be learned with time and the proper tools.



Be precise

Feedback must be specific, and the key to specific feedback is clarity. Explain what went wrong and what was missing. Provide suggestions for how things could have been done differently.

Be constructive

Offer constructive criticism in your responses. The goal of the feedback process is for the recipient to learn from the experience. Engage in conversation rather than trying to provide a solution. Ask questions like "Have you thought of doing it this way?" or "Have you considered these angles?" These are powerful questions that stimulate constructive thinking and engage the individual in the process. Focus on the behavior rather than the person; a person might be weak at doing certain things, but it does not mean that he or she is unable to grasp the concept.

Don't delay

Deliver the feedback in real time. If you delay the feedback process, you deny the recipient timely and beneficial information. For example, comments that appear on an evaluation form six months after an incident end up losing context.

Take ownership

Own your feedback. If you are unhappy with something another person has done, tell him or her about it. Do not generalize, using words like "never" or "always". Remember - clarity and specificity are imperative to successful feedback management.

Be supportive

Respect the intended recipient of your feedback and be supportive. Demeaning or insulting feedback hurts office culture and your professional office relationships. Attacking weaknesses only makes the attacker look bad; show support and confidence in the other person's ability. Feedback administered properly helps colleagues reach their full potential and cements your position as a respectful professional.