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Methods of giving feedback


In a train the trainer course I will soon be running someone has requested that they would like to know more about giving feedback.

I am familiar with the well known 'sandwich method'. I know there are many others but can't fully remember them! Would welcome any comments.
Andy Barrett

10 Responses

  1. giving feedback
    I personally do not like the sandwich method – as it is a great way of educating people to expect a negative comment after praise.

    I prefer the direct – when you did x, that made me feel y.

    Is doing x going to give you the performance you require or not… you get the picture

    Then follow-up with praise.

    For me its about getting managers into the habbit of “catching people doing things right” rather than the thing most people are good at – doing something wrong.

    two good resources:
    The one minute manager
    Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment


  2. A couple of mnemonics
    Hi Andy

    Here are a couple of simple ideas:

    BEEF up your sandwich (although I agree with the previous comment about the sandwich method)

    Behaviour (what the person does or did)
    Example (a specific instance)
    Effect (the effect it had on you or someone else or on the outcome)
    Future (what you want to happen from now on)

    This can be used for both praise and developmental feedback.

    The other is slightly more forceful, particularly useful when you need to give feedback on something that did not go well.

    BIFF (instead of a biff on the nose 🙂

    Behaviour (as above)
    Impact (on the other person etc)
    Feelings (how you feel about it)
    Future (as above)

    Hope these help a bit. I am sure you will get lots of other ideas too.


  3. BOOST model
    Hi Andy,

    I’ve also used the BOOST model in the past.

    Balanced: focus not only on areas for development,
    but also on strengths.
    Observed: provide feedback based only upon behaviours
    that you have observed.
    Objective: avoid judgements and relate your feedback
    to the observed behaviours, not personality.
    Specific: back up your comments with specific examples
    of the observed behaviour.
    Timely: give feedback soon after the activity to allow the learner the opportunity to reflect on the learning.

    With regards to the sandwich model, I think that it is best to keep negative feedback separate so that it is not lost or lessened in importance.

    I also recommend getting the delegates view on their performance and encourage self analysis before offering trainer feedback, which is an effective technique that pre-empts any possible feedback you may need to offer.


  4. I like the 3 + 2 …
    My favoured approach, which works well in cultures where ‘face’ is particularly important, is simply this:

    * describe 3 aspects that you did well or feel natural to you.

    * describe 2 areas where you could ‘raise the bar’ to be even more accomplished.

    In group work I take the presenter/trainer/facilitator/leader to 1 side, instruct the group to collectively agree group feedback using the above model. Then with the individual I’ve taken to 1 side I ask them to consider what feedback in the above framework they think the group will give them. What amazes me is how often the individual is totally accurate in forecasting the feedback they get.

    I’ll add my own observations & feedback in the same structure if not all key aspects (in my view) are covered. I’ll generally ask permission from the individual to share this extra feedback from me with the rest of the group. Nobody has refused yet in more than 12 years!

    Then I have the group give their collective feedback, add my own as above, and allow a few mins of group discussion around it.

    Brits typically beat themselves up, going straight to “I could have done that better, etc etc” – and I quickly pull them back to the framework above.

    It works really well and the group aspect helps embed the learning for the group as a whole.

    Good luck,


  5. CORBS
    What would we do without acronyms?

    • Be concise and clear, brief and simple
    • Vague, complicated or confused feedback increases anxiety and may not be understood

    • The feedback you give is your own perception, not an ultimate truth – “I find you …..” instead of “You are …..”

    • Feedback given as soon as possible after the event is most useful

    • Positives (strengths) and negatives (weaknesses), but doesn’t mean that each strength must be accompanied by a weakness, but that it should be balanced over time
    • If you find that you always give one or the other this might mean that you have a distorted view

    • Generalised feedback is hard to learn from, e.g., instead of “You are irritating …..” it would be better to say “It irritates me when you …..”

    A couple of handouts that you may find useful (only available for 7 days):

  6. Feedback
    I run a series of workshops, Coaching for Managers (3 workshops) for Middle to Senior Mgt: Please contact me directly for some resources re: Giving Feedback.
    Buffy Sparks

  7. EEC
    Hi Andy

    Another method is EEC –
    Example – give an example of the behaviour
    Effect – what effect it had – positive or negative
    Change/congratulate – What you should do in the future or well done

    Hope that helps


  8. Simple
    Hi Andy,

    All the techniques that have been mentioned are very useful and you could do any of them. I would agree that the sandwich technique isn’t that great in some situations.
    I use What went well? and tips for next time.
    I ask the learner to sit quietly for 5 minutes and answer the two questions for themselves and I or the rest of the group answer the same questions ensuring that we use BOOST within our answers.

  9. Simple but very effective

    Untitled Document

    Hi Andy,

    I have played around with this one for years in many companies and organisations.

    The one formula that I have found the most effective, motivational, and powerful
    in terms of purely giving feedback

    (as opposed to facilitating realisation etc.) is also the simplest:

    "What was
    good about your performance was……. (usually three top things)

    and what would make it even better next time is…. (three areas for development)."

    It works on everyone.
    Use it on someone and then get someone to use it on you and see the difference.

    It moves the recipient into a positive space everytime. We use it with our clients
    and they really appreciate it.



    The Centre for Innovation, Influence
    & Inspiration.

    Centre i Ltd. – the home of ‘The
    Ambiguity Advantag


  10. Feedback

    I recommend reading a short book called Feedback or Criticism. It's a real eye opener of things to consider when delivering a feedback message and may give you some inspiration of what to include in your sessions.




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