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Writing feedback as a conversation with the recipient

We had a couple of people roll off our project recently. Even though we had been doing regularly feedback as a group, each person still wanted some written feedback to take with them to their next project. In writing down the feedback (and trying to collate all my thoughts from previous sessions) I found it was immensely useful to write the feedback as if I was talking to the person.

In past occasions, for some reason, I wrote a lot of feedback as if someone else was going to read it. For example, “I worked with <Joe> and noticed… It had this impact…”

Rather than as if I was writing feedback for someone else, I tried to write the feedback as if I was talking to the person. Framed in the context of the person who will benefit from receiving the feedback, I think it really changed the way that it made me think about it. It really focused my attention on feedback that would really help the person grow – reinforcing those behaviours that they should continue doing, and bringing to attention those behaviours that continued to puzzle me, or bringing to attention those behaviours that might take much more time than a single project to develop.

I found that writing feedback as if I was talking to the person also helped me humanise and personalise a lot more of the feedback I wrote down. Why don’t you give it a go next time?

3 Comments

  1. It’s a good poont pat. There is some weird convention that seems to dictate feedback should be in the 3rd person. It’s almost second nature.

  2. I mentioned this in my feedback article, along with some other tips at http://andypalmer.com/2009/05/making-feedback-more-effective/
    🙂

  3. Hi Andy,

    Thanks for the reminder. I do remember reading it when you published it, however it’s a good reminder nevertheless filled with good tips.

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