Handling feedback

Giving feedback is one part of handling feedback, receiving feedback another part. For a successful feedback rules should be followed by both parties.
I remember a feedback method called "Hot Chair" where someone has to sit in the middle of the room while others are giving feedback to him or her – usually personal feedback. This sounds like a tough situation but works great if those rules are followed and in most of the cases people feel well afterwards: both parties, those who got feedback and those who gave feedback.
I am not sure whether I recall all the rules, so list below might not be complete:

  • Feedback Sender
    • Participate in the feedback voluntarily
    • Always talk from your point of view, talk about what you experienced or felt. Typically a sentence whould start with "I felt …. after …" or "I like/dislike …", important is the "I" here. Talk about your perception, not the feedback receiver himself.
    • Do not give advices. Do not start a sentence with "You…". ( Leave it up to the feedback receiver to draw conclusions )
    • All other communication rules: as short as possible, clear language, don’t repeat youself, …
  • Feedback Receiver
    • Participate in the feedback voluntarily
    • Listen, don’t respond.
    • At the end thank for the feedback and tell the feedback sender that you will think about his feedback but not necessarily change anything since you are the person YOU like to be and not the one HE/SHE likes to be.
    • It is up the the feedback receiver to ask special people for their feedback or to just wait if anyone volunteers to give feedback

Some of the rules might not apply in reality. For instance often you receive feedback without haven asked for it. While feedback is given you should not respond – this can be done in case of written feedback easily. First read it, then understand in, then think about it, ( then sleep about it; a good rule I remember from my military duty time; may be just having a cup of coffee or tea is good enough sometimes ), then respond if you want to explain something and do not forget to thank the feedback sender for his time he/she invested to improve you.
Some rules should apply in real life, like the first two listed for feedback sender and #2 and #3 listed for the feedback receiver. I think it is OK to respond some time later but not while the feedback is given.

Filling out a form at the end of a class is probably not a perfect method to obtain feedback. It is the quick way and allows to do some statistics afterwards but the better way would be to invest one hour for a feedback discussion.


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