Skip to content
Previous post Back to DALIM SOFTWARE BLOG summary Next post

Top 9 Tips to Give Better Feedback

Every marketing department has the freedom to follow different structures when trying to produce content. However, one common problem is that the approval cycles might take too long or become too complex, especially if giving feedback proves ineffective and unclear. This only leads to a waste of time and resources, project delays, and misunderstandings.

Meanwhile, if constructive feedback is delivered properly, it would be easier to produce more quality content, keep everyone motivated, and achieve your marketing goals.

In this article, we’ll share with you nine simple but effective tips on how to give feedback that’s clear, solution-oriented, and effective. So keep scrolling!

1.  Be Specific

When giving feedback, be clear, specific, and straightforward. This will make the approval cycles shorter and more efficient. Do not provide general and vague statements like “The presentation still needs improvement.” or “The report is not enough.” What specific parts of the presentation need to be changed or developed further? What particular details are missing in the report? Be specific to avoid miscommunication and unnecessary frustrations.

It’s also best to guide them on how they can exactly apply your constructive feedback. For instance, if they tried to come up with too many proposals but haven’t developed them well, you can identify which ones are most relevant and how they can make the content more impressive.

If the problem is meeting deadlines, then tell them directly and share some tips on how they can manage their time more efficiently. When sharing your feedback, avoid exaggerating and using words like “never”, “always”, or “all” to avoid tension. Don’t point fingers either, and only explain the direct effect of the action or inaction then focus on the solutions.

2.  Be Timely

Given that finishing approval cycles earlier is crucial to the success of various marketing projects, share your constructive feedback in a timely manner. This also means that you shouldn’t be giving feedback on things you noticed three weeks or a month ago. Several changes must have happened in between already. Thus, make sure your feedback is timely and relevant.

At the same time, refrain from giving feedback right after a certain event if you have heightened emotions because it might just cloud your judgment. Rather, share your feedback at least 24 hours later, so you have enough time to process what happened and choose your words carefully.

3.  Be Empathetic

One of the keys to delivering successful content and making the approval cycles faster is showing empathy to each member of the organisation. Giving feedback includes an emotional risk for both you and the recipient of such feedback. If not done right, it could lead to misunderstandings and negative outcomes that will only pose greater issues. That is why you should be empathetic enough when delivering your comments and suggestions.

The other party might sound defensive when hearing feedback that seems to challenge their knowledge and skills. However, you should also understand that these people need time to react and process your feedback. Thus, it’s also better to give them the space they need to be shocked when receiving your feedback. Don’t simply think of their reaction as a form of resistance to your suggestions.

Moreover, remember that such feedback is meant to help foster the team’s growth and success, so there’s no room for hate and negativity. Besides, most, if not all, members of the team wouldn’t want to fail. Keeping these things in mind can help you give constructive feedback with empathy.

Ask them questions too, like “What are your thoughts?” or “How did that land with you?” This way, they’ll know it’s a two-way conversation and they’re free to speak their mind too. Then, through their responses, you can gain insights and understand their situation better. With such an empathetic approach, you can turn feedback into a fruitful discussion.

4.  Focus on Performance

Learning how to give feedback properly includes focusing on performance — not personality. The former allows you to be more objective, while the latter sounds overbearing. Let’s look at these examples:

Incorrect: Your arrogance causes different issues.

Correct: When you try to interrupt me in front of the stakeholders, it causes issues.

Incorrect: You are lazy.

Correct: You missed your deadline and committed several mistakes. Let’s think of several ways to help you become more diligent.

With the revised statements above, you’re not attacking the character of the person. Rather, you’re discussing their actions. Thus, they’ll know what exactly needs improvement without getting hurt or offended. In marketing, focus on the content and not the creator.

Using “I” statements is another way to prevent putting labels on the person and simply focusing on your opinion about the situation. For example:

Original: You told me the content presentation would be last Friday, but you didn’t deliver them until Wednesday, which messed up other plans.

Revised: I was under the impression that the content presentation would be last Friday. Were there changes made that I wasn’t informed of?

By utilising “I” statements, you won’t sound like you’re blaming the person. Instead, you’re promoting a collaborative approach to help improve the project.  

5.  Be Aware of Your Delivery

When giving feedback, stay aware of your delivery. This includes your tone and manner of speaking, facial expressions, body language, eye contact, and more. Here are some of the dos and don’ts to prevent miscommunication:

  • - Do not raise your voice. Remember that you’re there to help the team produce content promptly and effectively. Thus, don’t get angry and focus on how to give feedback in a friendly or professional tone.
  • - Do not frown. Facial expressions like this make you look unwelcoming and intimidating. The person receiving the feedback might hesitate to share their thoughts. Besides, you’re there to offer support and solutions, not judge them. Thus, smile appropriately to create a sense of warmth.
  • - Maintain eye contact. This will help you build a feeling of connection. At the same time, you’re certain that the person is paying attention to your message.
  • - Nod to tell the person you’re listening to them. Respond with “yes,” “mhm,” and other affirmations to show that you are
  • - Avoid crossing your arms. This might make you look intimidating or judgmental, preventing the other person from communicating their thoughts and emotions.
  • Avoid making gestures that would cause the recipient of the feedback to be defensive or anxious.

Apart from the nonverbal cues, watch your words, too. Refrain from giving derogatory statements that question the person’s skills and intelligence. For example, don’t say generalizations like “You never share your ideas when we do brainstorming,” or subjective statements like “You seem too unmotivated lately.”

6.  Be Open to Communication

Being open to communication is another key ingredient for a successful feedback conversation. Listen to each team member actively. Do not quickly judge them. Instead, understand their struggles and the reasons behind their failure to deliver your expected content.

Showing respect is also one way to foster open communication within the organisation. For example, refrain from checking your electronic devices when they start talking. Keep an open body language to help them feel comfortable.

Ask relevant questions to ensure you’re on the same page. Then, encourage them to share their feedback. They might have something to add regarding your role or performance, too. Allow them to provide examples to make sure you understand what they mean.

If possible, make an effort to get to know the members beyond their role in the marketing team or company. This creates a more inviting atmosphere and encourages them to be more open, honest, and transparent.

7.  Offer Suggestions

Knowing how to give feedback is not about pointing out behaviors that need to be changed or improved. It should also be about offering suggestions that will materialize the needed improvement. Thus, let the feedback recipient realize that you’re there to help them grow and develop by giving one or two actionable suggestions.

Also, use phrases or questions that allow them to self-reflect and inspire them to be better at what they do. Examples include:

  • - Looking back at your previous presentation, what is it that you could have done differently?
  • - What potential barriers do you see, and how will you manage them?
  • - What do you think would be the result if you focus on this angle of the content?
  • - What is your desired outcome?

Given that they may not agree with some of the things you raise, it’s a good idea to ask them about their views and perspectives. For example, ask the members questions like, “Do you think this is a fair representation of the event?” or ‘What’s your reaction regarding what happened?”

Moreover, avoid words such as “need to,” “must,” and “bad” so you won’t seem like you’re preaching to them. Listen well and let them offer suggestions, too, to make them more accountable for their own actions and solutions.

8.  Talk about the Positives

Many people tend to think of feedback as solely negative. That’s why mentioning the positive is crucial in sharing your feedback successfully. Start with something positive to help the recipient of the feedback feel at ease and confident. They’ll know that their efforts are appreciated and valued, although there are still specific areas that they need to work on.

Avoid the sandwich method, however. While it’s believed to lessen the impact, utilising and overdoing this method can make your feedback sound inauthentic. It’s also predictable, and people might end up only focusing on the good, if you share too many positives, or on the bad and end up frustrated.

The sandwich method may make you feel comfortable when giving feedback, but in reality, it does not make the other party feel comfortable. Thus, avoid using “but” and beating around the bush. Just share some of the positives you’ve observed and directly discuss your constructive feedback. Just try to end the conversation strongly, so the person won’t feel worthless or miserable.

Also, only provide positive feedback when the person has earned it. With the right amount of praise, the team member will consider it special and genuine.

9.  Follow Up

While giving feedback is challenging, other marketing team leaders and responsible parties may find it harder to follow up without appearing to be micromanaging. You can start by not treating feedback conversations as a one-time deal. Don’t stop at confirming they’ve taken your feedback seriously and setting clear and realistic goals together. Make the necessary follow-up to see whether they’ve implemented such goals and actions.

Then, recognise their efforts, especially if you’ve seen significant improvements in the process. Doing so will let them feel that you genuinely care about their success and the project itself. In turn, they’ll become more inspired to produce better content.

To follow up effectively, take down notes while talking to the feedback recipient. Remain approachable too, so they won’t hesitate to voice out their concerns and opinions when project adjustments have to be made. The goal is to get out of the approval cycles as soon as you can, and following up helps make that possible.

Final Thoughts

Giving feedback may not be an easy task. It can cause confusion, violent reactions, and bigger problems if not handled well. To provide constructive feedback effectively, practice simple but crucial steps like being specific, timely, empathetic and open to communication, offering suggestions, and following up. Want to make sure you’re producing top-notch content efficiently while adopting a simplified and automated workflow solution? Visit our page to learn more about DALIM SOFTWARE, your trusted source for innovative productivity workflow and communications software!

About the author
Aristide Zouheir-Kuhnle