8 Easy ways to make your feedback more impressive for the recipient

It’s easy for a recipient of 360 degree feedback to feel like they are walking in to some dreadful event rather than taking part in a process of self-discovery. Whether data presents a positive or negative outlook, it is essential that it is presented in a way that impresses and informs the recipient – ensuring they feel like the process has been worthwhile for their long-term development.

They say ‘never judge a book by its cover’, but it is safe to say that a 360 degree feedback recipient will judge the quality of the data presented to them by the way it looks and how easy it is to digest. Here are some top tips to manage this process and offer a professional and impressive feedback report to recipients…

+ Present the feedback in a formal folder (if printed) or in a smart PDF format if sent via email. This will ensure the recipient understands the value of the document that has been supplied to them, encouraging them to keep it safe and take it seriously.

+ Include clear headings and sections to allow recipients to browse through the data with autonomy. Start with an ‘Opening statement’, followed by ‘Key Strengths’, ‘Hidden Strengths’*, ‘Blind spots’**, ‘Low Lights’*** and a ‘Conclusion’, to allow the recipient to digest the data at his or her own pace.

+ Provide just enough information to make the report useful and relevant, but not so much they the recipient is bogged down in the details. This will only make the upcoming feedback session feel like a maths lesson and not a positive step on the path to transformation.

+ The need for accurate and informative data should be balanced with the need for clarity. Graphics, charts and diagrams can help to make complex information more digestible for the recipient.

However, graphics should not be used as a distracting substitute for poor or inconclusive data. Always be aware that the accuracy of the data needs to justify the cleverness of visuals and graphics.

+ Ensure that comments support the data and that the recipient can clearly see how conclusions have been drawn. A ‘working method’ or step-by-step approach could be helpful in this instance.

+ Feedback should be ‘on-brand’ for your particular business and in-line with the characteristic displayed within the business; for example, a more serious data-led approach or a more colourful, graphics-led approach to feedback.

+ Any qualitative or relevant quotes from feedback should be included in the recipient’s final feedback. This type of comment is rarely open to interpretation and can be used by the recipient, with the help of a 360 degree professional, towards a personal development plan-of-action.

+ A recipient is likely to resent feedback if it causes them embarrassment in a public forum, which is why it should be presented to a recipient, in private, around 48-hours before a one-on-one session with a HR professional. This will give the recipient time to digest the information, perhaps ‘sleep on’ the negative conclusions, and enter the feedback session prepared for a discussion.

* Strengths highlighted by others that weren’t immediately apparent to the recipient
** Areas of weakness detailed in the feedback in contrast to the recipient’s positivity in these areas
***A more preferable term for ‘negatives’ that outlines growth areas.

For more on this and other incredibly powerful insights and advice, get your copy of 360 Feedback : A Transformational Approach today.


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