In professional life, you can expect to have a job that requires you to give effective feedback to your team members, to those you supervise, and even to your boss. Businesses and organizations use regular employee performance reviews in order to help their employees focus on their own development as a professional. Providing effective feedback during a performance review is an important professional skill.

In College you often provide feedback in writing. This could be in a team member evaluation or the student assessment of teaching for faculty members.

You might be surprised to learn the impact that your feedback has on others (Yes! Someone DOES read every student comment on those assessments!). With this understanding, it is worthwhile to learn how to do it effectively.  

Five Tips to Give Effective Feedback
Here are five tips to help you give constructive feedback and support the professional development of those on the receiving end:

1. Be problem-focused and specific

Provide examples for what could be improved. Share how the issue you raised impacted you or the project.

2. Address the situation, not the individual

Now is not the time for a personal attack. Always assume the best intentions on the part of those you are providing the feedback to.

3. Recommend a solution

While the person on the receiving end may not be able to implement your solution, ideas can help someone better understand where to start.

4. Manage your tone

Avoid displaying negative emotions such as anger or sarcasm. This can be just as difficult in writing as it is in a conversation, maybe more so.  You don’t have any visual clues as to how the “reader” is responding to your words.

5. Give praise when it’s due

We all appreciate positive reinforcement, including team members and faculty. Constructive feedback does not have to be negative. Recognition of strengths also supports an individual’s professional development.

Remember, giving constructive feedback is an important on-the-job skill. It is also an excellent opportunity to help others grow professionally.

Practice Giving Effective Feedback
You can start practicing giving effective feedback while still a student by using these tips in your peer evaluations and student assessments of teaching for faculty members.