19 Words that Could Dramatically Change How Your Feedback is Received

We all know that giving reinforcing feedback (to emphasise the positives) is super easy. The challenge is when we need to provide redirecting feedback. That’s not so easy. 

We use the Situation, Behaviour, Impact model to deliver the reinforcing or redirecting feedback. 

An example of delivering redirecting feedback and how you might frame it using the model is shown below:

SituationI noticed that you didn’t say anything in the department meeting on Tuesday.
BehaviourYou were very quiet, even when we discussed your projects.
ImpactIt would have been helpful for the team to hear your thoughts during the meeting, about their projects to show support and to share more about your projects. In future team meetings it would be great to see you contribute more and also to update the team on how things are going with your projects. Let me know if you need help preparing to do that.

The above is a basic example, but difficult for a manager or team leader to handle nonetheless.

Even with a good structure, not everyone is open to our feedback which is well intended, and people vary in their levels of receptivity to feedback.

Adam Grant, author and speaker, outlined recently what he describes as 19 words that he has found through experiment that you can use when giving feedback as a result of which people become dramatically more receptive to what you are about to deliver.

The 19 words are:

“I’m giving you these comments because I have very high expectations and I am confident you can reach them.”

You can add:

“I’m here to coach you. I’m trying to help you.”

He says that his experiments have shown that if you says this up front, then all of a sudden you have a relationship, it’s not attacking the person, and reception to what you have to say dramatically improves.

This is worth experimenting with in 2024.