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 he\she 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

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

Adam F. C. Fletcher helps organizations engage people more successfully. Contact him by calling (360) 489-9680 or emailing

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