Words are powerful. The words you choose when giving feedback can have positive or negative impacts, they may inspire and influence change or undo and pause progress, even result in resistance.

When giving feedback to team members, students, organizations, managers, (even family and friends) consider the purpose, objective, and tone when delivering your words.

Are you setting out to demean or inspire?

Is your attitude hostile or mild?

Will your words degrade or uplift an individual?

Is your tone angry or neutral?

Some words to use when giving effective feedback:

  • Authentic
  • Positive
  • Ideal
  • Impressive
  • Interesting
  • Progress
  • Review
  • Rework
  • Continue
  • Change
  • Influence

A feedback model I’m fond of is EIC, a simple acronym that’s easy to use.

To use the model share a specific and clear EXAMPLE, just one, of what you want to discuss. “I’d like to focus on…”

Explain the IMPACT of that example “When you do….. this has an impact on…. in this way….”

Share what you would like to see the person CHANGE OR CONTINUE
“As a suggestion you could…… what are you thoughts?”

Make the conversation 2 way and avoid sounding like you’re reading a script. Remember the purpose of giving feedback and be prepared for someone to disagree with you. If this does occur resist going into flight or flight mode, listen to the other person and try to understand their perspective.

As part of the feedback process for development purposes, be sure to capture all feedback and actions from coaching and performance sessions, and follow up.

Choose your words wisely when giving feedback if you want to see positive change.