Giving feedback

Posted by  Andrew Rixon —March 9, 2006
Filed in Communication

I’ve recently been hearing some difficulties expressed around people giving feedback in organisations. I’ve heard words used like “constructive criticism”, “constructive feedback” and “positive feedback”. The question remains, how do you give helpful feedback?

One of the best things I have learnt from participating in Toastmasters is how to evaluate someones performance, and, give feedback.

In toastmasters, everything is evaluated, even the evaluators. The aim is to improve and learn on every activity that one undertakes. Now this might seem daunting. There you are getting up to face maybe your greatest fear and just to make it even worse you will be evaluated!

Toastmasters however have a recipe for evaluation which, I think, really works. The recipe is simple: “Praise – Recommendation – Praise”. The recipe is to provide the recommendation wrapped in praise. You might ask, but what if there is no praise? My answer: I’d suggest you need to take another look at the situation and your perspective and ask yourself whether you really are being helpful because there is always something to praise! It could be something really existential like: Thanks for being here. Thanks for being on time…

How to give good feedback? I think you can’t go to far wrong with “Praise – Recommendation – Praise”. Try it, see whether you think it makes a difference.

About  Andrew Rixon


  1. Being and ex-Toastie myself Andrew I have to say – great post.
    I know the feedback recipe as either: Commend – Recommend – Commend, or Praise – Improvement – Praise. I’ve always found it easiest to remember PIP.
    Thanks for the useful reminder.

  2. Giving Feedback

    One of the greatest leadership development tools – and the one that probably generates the most fear – is feedback. A few years ago at Carter Holt Harvey we developed two simple tools to help leaders give

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