Activity: Feedback Techniques

The following is from Get Loud! Youth Engagement Workshop Guide by Adam Fletcher.

Use the following model to provide practice giving and receiving feedback:

I feel [feeling] when you [behavior] because [impact on you].

  • Instead of “You irresponsible jerk! Where were you yesterday? We can never count on you!”
  • Try “I felt irritated when you didn’t show up at the meeting yesterday because we had to postpone our goal setting.”

Rule 1: Focus on behaviors and actions, not personality.

  • Instead of “You’re a totally domineering loudmouth!”
  • Try “I felt frustrated at yesterday’s meeting when you interrupted several people to make your own points because I didn’t get to hear what they had to say.”

Rule 2: Be specific and concrete, avoiding vagueness and generalizations.

  • Instead of “You are always late for things.”
  • Try “I was upset when you came late to the event because I had to do your work as well as my own.”

TIP If you can’t come up with a concrete example, think again about the feedback you are trying to give. Is it accurate, or just your perception? 

Rule 3: Time your feedback well.

  • Don’t give feedback so long after the actual incident that heshe has trouble even remembering. 
  • Don’t give feedback so soon after the incident that the person isn’t really ready to hear it.
  • Don’t give feedback when the person isn’t ready to listen. For example, he/she is on the way out and doesn’t
  • have time, is with a group of people, or is in a bad mood.
  • Do pick a good time and place so that you both can be focused and capable of listening.

Rule 4: Do no harm.

  • Don’t just go off on someone so that you feel better.
  • Check your attitude and your motivations for giving feedback before you speak. Ask yourself why you want
  • to give this person feedback.
  • Do sincerely try to give people information that is going to help them and be reasonable with your expectations.

Rule 5: Deal with one item of information at a time.

  • Don’t say, “I feel angry when you don’t take out the trash or do the dishes or pick up your things or vacuum the floor because this place is a mess!”
  • Don’t confuse the receiver with lots of big words or go into a long drawn-out speech and get straight to the point. 
  • Do pick one thing to focus on for now.

Buy your copy of Get Loud: Youth Engagement Workshop Guide at

Published by Adam F.C. Fletcher

I'm a speaker, writer, trainer, researcher and advocate who researches, writes and shares about education, youth, and history.

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