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Developing Effective Feedback Skills > Describe the Behavior

Describe the Behavior

Describing behavior is the second step to giving effective feedback. It’s also the most crucial step and the one most often omitted—probably because behavior can be difficult to identify and describe. The most common mistake in giving feedback happens when judgments are communicated using adjectives that describe a person but not a person’s actions. That kind of feedback is ineffective because it doesn’t give the receiver information about what behavior to stop or to continue in order to improve performance. Consider the phrases below:

  • He was rude during the meeting.

  • She was engaged during the small-group discussion.

  • She seemed bored at her team’s presentation.

  • He seemed pleased with the report his employees presented.


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