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3 Tips For Giving Comfortable Feedback

Jamie Dandar McKinney, MBA, is an award-winning coach and the best-selling author of Speak Up, Sister! The Professional Woman's Guide to Confidence and Success. Recognized as an Emerging Training Leader and a Top Woman in Energy, Jamie jokes that her stilettos have steel toes.

 
Executive Contributor Jamie McKinney

The topic of feedback is always a passionate one. We crave substantial, actionable feedback, yet sometimes struggle to deliver it to teammates and direct reports. In a recent blog I shared tips to elicit feedback you can actually use. No more, “You did fine” or “The presentation was great.” You can read more here


Two women having a conversation.

Photo credits: H. Nguyen.


In the meantime, we are flipping the script! It's equally crucial to offer feedback in a constructive and actionable manner. Many people struggle with the discomfort and awkward feel of a conversation such as this, often causing them to avoid it altogether. The result? Growth is stifled and nobody wins. Sharing feedback has an all around positive impact when you apply the strategies outlined here. Build confidence in your skills and empower others with feedback they can use to develop their skills.


Offer valuable feedback by implementing the following strategies


1. Be specific and objective

Avoid vague statements like "You did great" or "It was fine." Instead, focus on specific instances and behaviors. For example, "During your presentation, you maintained eye contact, which kept the audience engaged. However, I noticed you spoke very quickly during the technical explanation, which made it hard to follow. Slowing down a bit could help."


2. Address the behavior, not the person

It's important to focus on the specific behavior you observed rather than making it about the person's character or personality. This approach makes the feedback feel less like a personal attack and more like constructive guidance. Here are a few examples:


Instead of saying, "You are disorganized," try saying, "The documents were not in the expected order, which made it difficult to follow the presentation. Organizing the materials beforehand might help."


Rather than saying, "You don't listen," you could say, "During our meetings, I noticed that when others were speaking, there were interruptions. Allowing them to finish might lead to a more effective discussion."


Instead of, "You are too aggressive in your sales pitch," say, "During your pitch, there were moments that came across as very intense. A softer approach could make the clients feel more comfortable."


3. Be empathetic and encourage dialogue

Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and offer feedback with empathy. Frame your comments in a way that shows you understand their perspective and are there to help them improve. Encourage a two-way conversation by asking questions like, "How did you feel about your performance?" or "Is there a specific area you’re looking to improve?" This fosters a collaborative atmosphere where feedback is seen as a tool for growth rather than criticism.


By using these strategies, you can ensure your feedback is heard, valued, and acted upon.

Was this helpful?? Let me know! What questions do you have about other Leadership and Professional Development topics? Message me at Contact@JamieMcKinney.com


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Jamie McKinney, Leadership Coach l Speaker l Author

Jamie Dandar McKinney, MBA, is an award-winning coach and the best-selling author of Speak Up, Sister! The Professional Woman's Guide to Confidence and Success. Recognized as an Emerging Training Leader and a Top Woman in Energy, Jamie jokes that her stilettos have steel toes. After two decades in male-dominated industries, Jamie mastered building confidence as deliberately as building muscle and leading with authenticity. Through her dynamic programs—The 3 Pillars of Leadership and Speak UP to Level UP®—she empowers you to ditch doubts, amplify your voice, and propel your career. Get ready for results with Coach Jamie championing you!

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