How to Give and Ask for Feedback (with Examples)

January 04, 2023
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Giving good feedback is a valuable skill and often takes practice to master. It is, however, not an impossibility, and by studying examples of following a few steps, anyone can become skilled at providing good constructive feedback.

We have all likely, at some point, received feedback that has been either overly critical or not very helpful in the long run. Many of us have also struggled to ask for feedback because it feels awkward, is time-consuming, or we don’t know how to phrase the request. 

There is, however, plenty we can do to hone our feedback skills to provide colleagues or others with relevant information and clear insights from our perspective. Likewise, asking for feedback need not be some daunting and fear-inducing experience we avoid because it may be difficult. The pros far outweigh any potential or perceived negatives. 

If you're looking for the best tools you can use to gather feedback then read more here.

What is constructive feedback?

Constructive feedback offers specific insights designed to help others grow and understand what they need to work on and why it may be a priority. Constructive feedback may break down someone's way of working, a product’s performance, or anything with action points, specific instances, and examples. It may also include suggestions on the next steps. 

Much feedback that people provide, regardless of the situation, tends to be overly vague or critical. Constructive feedback is not just about pointing out problems or faults: it is about providing context and advice in a helpful and supportive manner. Constructive feedback will ideally give someone things they can work on or improve and be free from biased criticism or unfair comments. 

When giving feedback on project management or performance, citing specific examples or issues can be one of the most valuable ways to clarify and highlight issues or things that need action. The goal should be to highlight issues or areas of improvement and provide adequate background to contextualize the feedback. 

How to give feedback, with examples

Giving constructive feedback can be tougher than you may assume and take some skills and practice to master. Providing context, highlighting specific examples, and giving valuable suggestions can be a lot to do. 

The goal should be to help them reach a positive outcome by underlining what they need to focus on and helping them understand why it may be important. Providing specific instances or examples can be the best way to highlight your point and to help whoever you are giving feedback to contextualize the situation. 

Now to do this it is better to do it soon after you notice something worth giving feedback about. Either that or noting what happened so you don’t forget or confuse the details. 

Now there are countless scenarios in which you can give feedback. So, we have broken it down here with some examples for each. Firstly we have an example to avoid and then one that is nice and constructive. 

Example #1 - Work Quality

“John I have noticed recently that your work is not up to standard, try to improve upon it in the next few weeks.”

It’s highly unlikely John will know what they are referring to here as it is quite a broad statement. Thus, he can’t create any action points. 

Rewriting this, we could say:

“John, I noticed the content on your most recent campaigns needed to be edited and proofread again. On the North American campaign, I noticed some spelling and grammatical errors. It might be a good idea to run things by the rest of the team if you happen to be busy or need help.”

This has a specific example, highlights the issue, and provides a potential solution.

Example #2 - Meeting Behavior

“Sarah I think you have been a bit too loud and domineering in meetings this year.” 

Now, this could be a valid point if it gave some examples of using more explanatory language. At the moment, it simply reads as harsh personal criticism.

Rewriting this, we could say:

“Sarah, you’re incredibly enthusiastic in meetings and have a lot of ideas and things to say. I think though you could take a step back sometimes before jumping into the discussion. This might give others a chance to speak first. Last month’s team planning comes to mind where you were able to describe your team’s projects, but didn’t leave anyone else room to speak up.”

Example #3 - Time Management 

“Recently you’ve missed deadlines and it’s beginning to negatively impact team performance.” 

As before, this doesn’t provide a specific example and really just piles on the pressure with the final comment.

Rewriting this, we could say:

“On the latest design deadline, you delivered 2 days later than expected. If there are delays please let us know so we can adjust accordingly. If there is a workload problem or any other issue it may be good to take it up with management.”

Example #4 - Project Management 

“Your recent project has hit a lot of hurdles and the team is struggling to stay on track.”

Again, there is nothing here to identify the root cause of the issues or what “stay on track” actually means.

Rewriting this, we could say:

“I’ve noticed that recently the project timeline has changed a few times over the past month, and deadlines are constantly changing. We may need to review the project plan to as it’s unclear what tasks we need to prioritize. I know everyone would appreciate some regular check-ins so we remain up-to-speed."

Example #5 - Poor Attitude

“I think you really need to improve your behavior. It’s becoming a serious problem.” 

As before, this is quite a generic comment and means we can’t be sure if this is an issue of perception or if there have been serious behavioral problems.

Rewriting this, we could say:

"I’ve noticed that, in the past month or so, in team meetings you’ve seemed very sullen and demoralized. In one instance two weeks ago I recall you contributed very little and shrugged off some prompts for you to jump into the conversation. 

Others in the team find this kind of thing to be tough to deal with and it creates a negative atmosphere. It could be a good idea to chat with a manager or someone else if there are some issues with work at the moment as before now you seemed eager and more engaged.” 

How to ask for feedback 

Asking for feedback is a necessary evil. It is as simple as that. Many have no problem drafting up an email to send to clients, job applicants, or subscribers. For others, even the sentence ‘Ask for feedback’ sends a chill down their spine. But have no fear because we have 

  • Be prepared 

As we said, people are busy, so best provide them with some prepared questions to fill out. Don’t just ask them vague questions in the hope that they take the time to give a perfect detailed response. If there is something specific you want feedback on then ask. 

Get creative and create a series of scales or rankings questions for people to quickly fill out. Additionally, open-ended questions can be great for more detailed and comprehensive answers. Combine both to help you get a full picture. 

Top tip: Don’t be afraid to give them hints or examples of how you would like the feedback structure. This will make it easier for everyone as they can get some inspiration on what to write and it will be easier for you to work with. 

  •  Be courteous

Remember, no matter who you are asking, they are doing you a favor and taking time out of their day to help you. A simple please and thank you go a long way, as can explaining that you appreciate the use of their time. Explaining why you want the feedback and how it can help you will also help them understand that their opinion is important to you and is valued. 

When dealing with users, many companies also offer some type of reward or compensation for filling out forms and surveys. 

  • Be concise 

We mentioned it above but, when sending people forms of questionnaires to complete, don’t leave any stone unturned. Now be aware that it’s not a good idea to create something that will take people over 10 minutes to complete. Colleagues you know well may be willing to go above and beyond to help you improve, especially those you work with closely, but others may struggle to spend a long time giving feedback. 

So the best thing to do is to narrow things down to the most important questions that will provide you with the most benefit or information. What questions do you absolutely need to ask in this situation? Stick with those and eliminate ones that will be superfluous or don’t provide you with valuable insights.

  • Don’t expect everyone to have amazing feedback 

Again, as we said above this is a skill that not everyone has mastered. While you could send people this blog post if you think their feedback skills need sharpening, we recommend just accepting that, from time to time, this happens. 

If you get feedback from someone that is unclear or incredibly vague, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or just to follow up. This is easy to do with colleagues but obviously may be trickier with clients as you don’t want to badger them - judge each scenario for yourself. 

If you notice that you tend to get poor-quality feedback, review what you are sending people and how you are phrasing your questions. Some slight tweaks could do wonders. Conversely, if you notice that one particular question really draws out some fantastic responses, then examine what it is about that query and repeat. 

  • Don’t expect everyone to respond 

This goes without saying, but not everyone will respond to you. People may be busy, emails sometimes go to spam, and messages can just be forgotten. Any feedback is better than none, however, and it’s important not to lose faith and abandon everything.

Think about adjusting how you are contacting people or what the opening line is. Make some minor tweaks and see if these result in better response rates. Be proactive until you get what you want. 

Now asking for feedback - from choosing what tool or software to use to create the questions can be a time-consuming process. Luckily for you, we have created a series of Mentimeter templates to help streamline the whole process. All you need to do is download them and you’re ready to go!

  • Give regular feedback 

This is probably one of the most important points because of the drastic effect it can have. If you only provide feedback to someone at the end of the year, then there could be months during which they could have made useful changes to their day-to-day work. 

Highlighting specific instances and examples can also be difficult when done weeks or months later. It can be tough to remember things after the fact, so doing so at the moment can help provide specific details and rely less on your memory. 

If you're looking for help, we have a few great templates here for you!

Meeting Feedback Survey

Meeting Feedback Survey

Post-Event Feedback Survey

Post-Event Feedback Survey

We have even more of these templates for free online.

How to improve your team’s feedback skills

For those in HR or management who need to help others improve their feedback skills, feel free to send them this article (we think it’s great). Also, why not work on giving feedback together as a group? 

Take some imaginary scenarios in which everyone must provide their opinions and points of view. 

Top tip: Make submissions anonymous so no one gets embarrassed if they are struggling. 

The benefits of improving a team’s feedback skills are:

  • Improving employee performance 
  • Boosting employee morale 
  • Increasing employee engagement 
  • Establishing feedback as part of your company culture 

These are just to name a few.

Do you want to make giving feedback even easier?

Mentimeter helps you gather anonymous feedback, create comprehensive and interactive surveys in minutes, and share presentations with just a voting or QR code. So why not try it out and see how we can help you collect more feedback than ever before?

Try Mentimeter for free today

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