17 Guidelines For Feedback In Business Communication

Feedback In Business Communication

Feedback is essential for the effective management of the organization. Feedback improves the quality of decisions and leadership. Therefore, managers should encourage subordinates to give feedback. There are some general guidelines for effective feedback put forward by communication experts at different times.

Feedback should be descriptive rather than evaluative

Descriptive feedback illustrates the responses clearly, giving the sender of the communication a fair understanding of the receiver’s reaction. Evaluative feedback puts the receiver in a defensive stance and jeopardizes the purpose of feedback. So, descriptive feedback will help make communication effective.

Feedback should be specific rather than general.

Specific feedback is more effective as it gives a clear directive to the receiver. It helps them to design and execute the right action to deal with the situation. General feedback does not provide any clear point of direction to the receiver and is, therefore, misleading.

Feedback should be directed toward behavior.

Feedback should be structured to enable the receiver to take action. It should help the receiver initiate a course of action to cause a behavioral change in the organization.

Feedback should be solicited rather than imposed.

Managers should ask for feedback from their subordinates. Solicited feedback is effective as both the receiver and the sender pay attention to it. Imposed feedback is often ignored or unattended, making it less effective or useless.

Feedback should be given at the earliest opportunity

The effectiveness of feedback depends on its immediacy. Prompt and immediate feedback makes communication complete and successful. Delayed feedback can lead to memory distortion, irrelevance, and defensiveness.

Furthermore, correcting mistakes, clarifying misunderstood symbols, or providing further explanation of a confused message is delayed when feedback is deferred. All of these situations affect communication effectiveness.

Therefore, immediate feedback will make it effective.

Feedback should be checked to ensure clear communication

Effective feedback is checked by rephrasing the feedback received to see if it corresponds to the sent message. It is observed that feedback is not received because the person giving feedback does not get feedback on the clarity of the initial feedback.

Feedback should be given in the present tense.

Using the present tense reminds the persons giving and receiving feedback that they are trying to be involved right now. It makes clear that the person giving feedback is open to clarification.

Tell people you want feedback.

This will be the first action to unfreeze subordinates from their defensiveness. You must be willing to deal with negative and positive comments, and that must be exhibited to encourage hesitant subordinates to engage in feedback.

Identify some areas in which you want feedback.

A general invitation to give feedback is unusually unproductive since subordinates are unsure about your intentions. Therefore, specify particular areas in which you want feedback. This will reduce their uncertainty.

Set aside time for a regularly scheduled session.

Specify a time schedule for having sessions with subordinates to get their feedback or expression. This is a strong and concrete expression of your willingness for feedback.

Use silence to encourage feedback.

Your silence during the discussion or talking session demonstrates your desire to listen to your subordinates seriously. This will also encourage your subordinates to talk.

Watch for nonverbal responses.

Watch for nonverbal responses of the reluctant subordinates to spot their feedback; if they look displeased, then you might ask them why they appear that way; you will get feedback.

Ask questions

Specific questions to a specific person may elicit a response that might otherwise not be made. People who are uncertain about the situation are more likely to respond if you clearly indicate in the question that you expect it.

So, it is important to ask questions to encourage people to give feedback freely and to show your interest in getting feedback.

Use statements that encourage feedback and clarifications

Rephrase the statement of the person giving feedback to encourage him to clarify the problem, opinion, or idea rather than immediately reacting to the statement.

Reward feedback

Rewards will obviously encourage people to give feedback. Thus, managers should appreciate the feedback and act on it, if possible. This will further increase feedback.

Encourage the expression of emotion.

Managers should be prepared to accept the anger and dissatisfaction of subordinates. That is, the managers must allow the expression of specific behavior or issues. Thus, if subordinates express dissatisfaction with company policies, ask for their recommendation.

When subordinates see that legitimate grievances are resolved, the feedback process is likely to improve. They are likely to be more receptive to feedback and also more likely to give feedback.

Address the interpersonal issues.

Managers must be willing to take time out from task considerations to address interpersonal issues.

They need to encourage more initiative or cooperation by drawing attention to specific behaviors of specific persons, sharing their feelings, making clear their attitudes and ideas about organizational culture, and showing by example that the expression of emotion and feedback concerning interpersonal behavior is acceptable and important.