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What happens when you don’t prepare your feedback?

Why you should get in the habit of preparing your feedback

We often want to give feedback when something happens that we don’t like.  Either our values have been stepped upon or our standards have been breached.  (Your son spoke to you in a tone you didn’t like; your direct report handed in a report that will make you look bad; your spouse has left the washing up undone.)

As a result, emotions like annoyance, frustration, and even anger are bubbling in our bodies. We feel compelled to give the feedback immediately.  But if you do, you know from experience, the chances of it ending well, are slim.  What you want, is for these things not to happen again. What you’ll get is a smart retort, passive resistance or outright war.  This happens because the recipient of your ‘reactionary’ feedback will pick up on the undertone of your communication.

The emotions that are residing in you, are precisely the ones that will make you choose the wrong words, tones and body language.  And rest assured – they will be picked up.

So, what you need is something that interrupts your emotional state, so you can transition into a more appropriate state in which to give your feedback.

Using the collaborative feedback tool is one way to achieve this.  It allows you to process the information that is causing these emotions and it does it in such a way as to diffuse them.

The collaborative feedback tool is a set of sentence starters.  Completing them in your mind will help you to calm down and process your feedback in a logical and rational way.  Here they are below:

My outcome (in giving this feedback) is…

I’m currently feeling…

I notice(d)…(things you saw or heard, not judgments, that led you to feel the way you do)

The meaning I make of this is… [the story you have created and are telling yourself]

And that means…[the consequences you’re imagining that will come about as a result of what happened]

I think you’ll find when you do run them through in your mind, you’ll discover some things about yourself first.  That will then help you sub-consciously choose the appropriate words, tones and body language in which to give productive feedback. 

You’ll much more likely get the results you are looking for, or sometimes you’ll find, the best way forward is to not give it at all.

By training yourself to run the preparation tool on a consistent basis, you’re building neural pathways that allow you to transition from one emotional state to another.  The more you practice, the quicker it will happen.

It’ll make for more peaceful living and better relationships.  Good luck feedbacking!