Not all feedback is created equal.
The delivery method, timing and even location of the feedback all impact how the feedback is received, how it will be interpreted, and what will happen afterward.
Giving feedback in an effective way is key to running successful lifelong learning programs, says Julia King Tamang, LERN Senior Consultant.
Here are her nine best tips for giving effective feedback:
1. Identify the business reason that this change is important.
Your lifelong learning program has business or project goals it is trying to reach. How does this behavior impede those goals?
2. Focus on the future, not the past.
Give sufficient data about past performance so the person understands your concern, then switch the discussion to how you want things to look in the future.
3. Use participant, customer or end-user information.
What do the people you serve need and want?
4. Put it in context.
Is this a big issue or a minor problem? Do this early in the conversation so the recipient knows what to expect. And, if it is a big issue, let the person know how long the conversation will take. You can also let the person decide the meeting time so that they have some sense of control.
5. Be specific.
Give people tangible examples of the performance you want them to change or continue. Tell the person what better or good looks like.
6. Make it timely.
Don't do drive-by assessments at 4:55 p.m. Friday.
7. Find someplace private.
When the comment is negative, people need to be able to save face.
8. Explain the impact.
Be sure to tell the recipient the impact the behavior is having on you, the organization and the customer. "Putting pens on the table with the logo face-up helps to remind people and reinforce our brand."
9. If the behavior affected you personally, speak from the heart, as well as the brain.
But, don't suggest you know the 'why' of the behavior. "You were late because you don't care."
Julia King Tamang is one of the presenters at the 2014 LERN Annual Conference, Nov. 21-23 in Orlando. Her sessions include Hot spots: Working with your own reactions; Talent management; and Finding productivity. She is also leading a pre-conference session, Creating great classes faster. This is King Tamang's last year presenting, so be sure to catch her in Orlando.