8 Steps to Providing Constructive Feedback

Have you ever had to give someone feedback and were uncertain as to how it would be received?

It could be telling a friend who constantly calls you about their romantic problems. Perhaps it is an employee of yours who is hesitant to tell you who needs helps completing a problem.

If you need to give constructive feedback to someone, try my SANDWICH  method. It is my eight-step method to (hopefully) help others improve while not making you feel look a self-righteous jerk in the process. 

1. Start with a good reason where BOTH of you will benefit from the conversation.

In others, where both of you reap benefits from the conversation. When sharing advice or feedback make sure it comes from a place of trust, concern and care for you and the other person. 

For example, it is OKAY to talk with someone who may be quick to avoid asking for help because delays can hurt not only themselves and others. But it is NOT OKAY to discuss their fear or asking for helping because don’t like them and want to damage their confidence. Making someone feel uncomfortable so you can feel good about yourself is no bueno

2. Ask yourself if YOU are best to deliver the news. 

You could be 100% right about your feedback, but due to a variety of reasons, may not be the right person to deliver the message. People are more receptive to advice if they feel safe and comfortable with who is delivering the message. 

3. No surprises please. 

Nobody likes emotional surprises, especially about discussing sensitive subjects of areas of weakness. Tell them about your intentions and goals of the discussion BEFORE you meet.

For example, you may say, “Hey Nervous Nancy! I want to talk with you about how we can help improve (fill in the blank issue). I got some ideas you may like to hear. Do you have 30 minutes to talk?” Safety for the other person is key. Make sure they understand what will be discussed. Important: be sincere about what your intentions. People can sense when they are being trapped into something bad.

4. Develop, don’t destroy honest communication.

The purpose of the feedback is be honest and clear about HOW the other person can improve. This isn’t a time to make someone feel like a pile of crap.

 Stay focused on how they improve and why it will help everyone, including them. No accusations or blame here. If applicable, you can be honest with your own past struggles with the issue.

5. Work it together with tons of compassion. 

Ask for their input to solve the problem or seek resolution. Again, you are working to help improve – not hurt. If they need to cry or show a display of emotion, give them the space. Don’t interrupt while they speak – you may learn something new about them.

6. Instill confidence that you believe in them. 

Nobody wants to improve if they feel like a loser. Remind them they are capable. Tell them how they can and will improve with consistency and practice.

7. Conclude with love. 

Thank them again for their honesty and transparency. Thank them for being open to hear your  thoughts.

8. Help them succeed. 

If necessary, create a follow up or create a plan to help them succeed. As you explain the plan, emphasize how they will benefit from the process. Most importantly, make the plan together. Most people are willing and eager to stick to a plan that they develop. Remember: You want people to feel confident in their actions.

Hope this helps! Have you have had to have a difficult conversation with someone? What happened? Do you have any tips you want to share? Let me know in the comment section below!