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Giving feedback: Manage in the EPL!

March 6, 2014

Liverpool FC“Thank you very much for your report, Charlie, but, to be frank, there is room for improvement, to put it mildly. You handed in the report a day late, there was no logical flow leading up to your conclusion… and your grammar was appalling. In short, I shall expect much better next time.”

Have you ever received feedback like that from your boss – perhaps not as damning as that, but similarly soul destroying? Have you ever delivered feedback like that? Tut, tut!

Here are three things you need to remember in giving feedback: encourage, praise and limit – EPL, as in the English Premier League. Yes, imagine you are a football manager giving feedback to a player after a match.

What is the purpose of giving feedback? Yes, to ENCOURAGE the recipient to improve performance. If your feedback comes in the form of unmitigated criticism, will the recipient’s performance be improved? Unlikely – they will be more likely walk out of the door and not come back.

Second, your feedback should be in the form of a speech, and the body of the speech should be in the form of a PRAISE sandwich – namely praise/suggest/praise or, in the rather confusing Toastmaster parlance, commend/recommend/commend, or CRC.

Finally, in that crucial sandwich filler, the suggestions, do not give a whole long list, from A to Z. LIMIT it to three, maximum.  Any more will not be retained.

Here’s an example. I gave a speech in the tall tale contest a few weeks ago, which I thought was a cracker. But the judges clearly thought otherwise! Let’s do a one minute evaluation of it. “The third speaker was Vaughan Evans, with a speech about his former mistress, who could read his mind. The speech was credibly incredible, as a tall tale should be, and it was delivered in Vaughan’s usual lively, animated manner. I have one recommendation for Vaughan: he should take greater care to know his audience, and especially the judges, one or two of whom might have found his material rather, shall we say, bloke-ish. But it was a rollicking speech and ended with an excellent punchline.

Now let’s evaluate the evaluation, via the English Premier League guidelines. Was it Encouraging? Yes. Was there a Praise sandwich? Yes. Did it Limit the number of recommendations? Yes, just the one – hence easier to remember and more likely to be put into effect. Well, we’ll see about that…!

VE

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