Sometimes figuring out how to start can be the hardest part about giving feedback. But there is an easy solution to this:
Ask a question.
Ask a question.
Start with something general and open ended.
“Do you have any thoughts about today?”
“How did you feel today’s shift went?”
The exact wording is not super important as long as it gives the learner an opening to share with you their experiences and feelings. Starting with a question has a number of advantages:
It is a more natural way to start.
Telling someone what you think about them or their performance can be awkward. Starting by asking their opinion is an organic way to enter into a potentially challenging conversation.
It shows that you care about what they think.
It allows the feedback discussion to be more of a conversation rather than a one-sided expression of ideas.
It improves engagement.
If you let the other person speak first, it naturally increases their engagement in the conversation and improves their attentiveness to the things you then have to say.
It helps establish the learner’s mindset.
You may not always be on the same page to start. You may have thought a shift went terrible but your learner thought it went great. Alternatively, someone may have unexpectedly negative feelings about their performance. Knowing this reaction ahead of time will help you figure out where to begin.
Sometimes they do the work for you.
Maybe best of all, sometimes if you ask a learner for their own self-reflection, they will eloquently state all of the things that you were already thinking, allowing you to agree with them and further explore their own personal feedback. We call this a freebie.
Asking a question is a great way to start every feedback session. Sometimes the learner won’t have much to say, sometimes they will spill their guts to you. Either way, it provides a natural, effective origin point for an impactful discussion.