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Deliver the Impact

The final step in giving effective feedback is to relay the impact that the other person’s behavior had on you. The impact you want to communicate is not how you think a person’s behavior might affect the organization, co-workers, a program, clients, a product, or any other third party. The impact you want to focus on and communicate is your reaction to a behavior. There are two directions you can take when sharing the impact of a person’s behavior.

  1. You can evaluate or make a judgment about the person’s behavior: “I thought you showed interest when you asked for the group’s opinions.” This tactic is the most common, but it is also the less effective of the two because the person getting the feedback can argue with your interpretation of the behavior.

  2. You can acknowledge the emotional effect the person’s behavior had on you. “When you told me in the meeting that my concerns about product deadlines were ’overblown,’ I felt belittled.” This approach can be more effective than the first because it truly is your reaction to someone’s behavior, a reaction that only you experience. The person hearing your feedback can’t easily dismiss your personal experience, and so is more likely to hear what you’ve said.


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