Giving constructive feedback
When giving someone feedback it is important you ensure that it is constructive and you have considered how it will be perceived by the receiver.
Start with something positive about the pitch then move on to what you think could be improved. Try to give reasons for your comments based on what you’ve learned. Constructive feedback does not focus on fault or blame; it is specific and is directed towards the action, not the person. It should be easy to understand, meaningful and useful to the receiver. You should avoid being negative or vague in your feedback. As with networking, it requires tact, good timing and some measure of objectivity. Well-constructed feedback gives the recipient ideas for development which they are more likely to take on board, and you will have helped to make a difference.
It’s worth pausing a moment to consider the characteristics of effective feedback more generally. According to The University of Leicester (2016) it should be:
- focused on behaviour
- be objective and based on observation
- confidential and timely
- covering what the individual did and what they could do better.
How will these characteristics help you to provide effective feedback on an elevator pitch? Clearly you need to focus on what the individual is doing, rather than any preconceptions you might have. The focus on objective observation means that you need to find specific things to comment on – requiring concentration and evidence-gathering. The requirements for confidentiality and timeliness mean that any feedback should not be shared beyond the activity (in which participation is, of course, completely voluntary), and you need to find things to praise as well as to criticise constructively.
So, when constructing your feedback on this exercise (or in any other context), ensure you recognise what was done well so that the receiver knows what they shouldn’t change. Make sure the areas you highlight for development are clear and focused on something that can be changed and is not personal.
© The Open University