The Daily Challenge: Give Real Time Feedback


Real time feedback is sometimes necessary. Practice in advance. 


Giving Feedback in Real Time.

Time to read: 2 mins 

We can probably agree that many types of feedback shouldn't be given in real time. For example, you would never raise your hand after a co-worker completes her speech to the whole team and provide feedback immediately. Instead, you would connect with that co-worker later and provide your thoughts if she was interested in receiving them.

Similarly, you wouldn't tell a coworker in a public setting that the stain on their shirt makes them look unprofessional. 

However, sometimes feedback must be given in real time. For example, a co-worker may need feedback on the presentation they presented in a meeting in order to improve it for their official presentation to a client. In this case, feedback is the purpose of the meeting - there's just no getting around it. 

So how can you give feedback in front of other peers without causing any unnecessary problems or hurt feelings? The trick is to keep it on topic and to structure the feedback thoughtfully.

Today's challenge walks you through how to think about and structure real time feedback. Most of the example assume that you are giving feedback with other people around (i.e., this is not private feedback). 

Step 1. Ask for permission. Get the person to agree to the feedback before you give it.

  • "Do you mind if I give you feedback on [Topic X]?"

  • "Can I share with you how I perceived that part of the presentation?"

  • "Would now be the time for feedback or should I wait until after the meeting?"

Step 2. Keep it thoughtful and on topic. The feedback you're giving should be specific to this particular topic and structured in a thoughtful manner. This isn't the time to remind them that they always do X, Y or Z. (Note: if it's not on topic, there's a real chance that it doesn't need to be given in real time in front of their peers)

  • "I found it difficult to follow along because of XYZ"

  • "I was able to follow, but given the way you structured [ABC], our clients might find it difficult to follow along. Can we go back to that part?"

  • "During your presentation you had your back to the audience as you looked at your slides. From my perspective, this didn't feel welcoming." 

  • "You kept your hands in your pocket and it made me feel like you were feeling uncomfortable. We'll want to present confidence at this presentation. What would the speech look like without your hands in your pockets?"

Step 3. Offer support. Before providing feedback, consider how you might be able to support this person as they improve their performance in this specific work situation. 

  • "I have some ideas if you're interested in discussing later."

  • "I'm happy to share a few ideas of how I've seen others do it in the past. Then you can choose what works best for you. Do you want to connect later?"

  • "I'm not sure the best way to approach the solution but I would be happy to think it through with you."

  • "We can run through this again if you have time."

Pro Tip: There are endless ways to approach feedback. Practice until you find a way that works for you. 

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