Thursday, October 13, 2005

Training small groups - Encouraging participants and providing feedback (Part Two)

Continuing from yesterday, below are eight aspects you should consider when giving feedback:

Feedback "sandwich"

When giving feedback always begin on a POSITIVE note, so find something that you can say that was successful. If you have a NEGATIVE piece of feedback to give, "sandwich" it between positive points. Give positive first, then negative and finish with another positive.


Choose an appropriate time and place to give the feedback. Also check that you have dealt with any of your own negative emotions which could create an uncomfortable environment when you speak to the participants.


Check that the participant understands what your feedback means by asking them to repeat it back to you in their own words. This will also help them to acknowledge and remember it.

Be honest and sensitive

When the participants performance is not up to the standard it is your responsibility to give them constructive feedback. Although this can be difficult you must not avoid giving negative feedback when it is necessary. Be tactful as you identify specific issues and help the participant work out what went wrong and what to do about it.

Actions - not the person

When you need to give negative feedback, focus on the things the participant did, rather than on how you feel about them.


Show the participant that you respect them by giving your feedback to each individual in private. Make sure that you can't be overheard or that any written feedback you give won't be read by anyone else.

Keep it short

Don't overload the participants with more feedback than they can use. Give enough for them to be able to reflect on and make any changes. If you give too much they won't remember all of it.

Tomorrow: Encouraging learners to assess their own performance

Mike Hitchen
Mike Hitchen Consulting