Feedback is not the same as feedback. Find out what constitutes professional feedback

5 min read

Feedback is understood as objective feedback or assessment by another person such as a supervisor, teacher, trainer, etc. Especially in the professional and educational world, feedback (both for feedback givers and feedback recipients) is indispensable and very important, because only through the feedback is given for further development and optimization.

In the case of feedback, the self-image of the feedback recipient is intervened in that the external perception is communicated to them. It consists of:

  • give feedback and
  • take feedback

Professional feedback is honest, objective and constructive. It serves to uncover weak points, clarify misunderstandings and communicate expectations and requirements. This increases the chance that the other person will accept the feedback and change their behavior. Feedback is a recommendation for help.

Feedback Rules

So that the feedback recipient also accepts this constructively, the feedback provider should follow a few important rules:


The feedback giver should appreciate the feedback recipient and their work. If the feedback recipient does not feel appreciated and respected by the other person, they will not accept the feedback and will feel patronized and negatively criticized.

Show Benefits

The benefits of feedback should be explained and shown to the feedback recipient. If the feedback recipient understands why the feedback provider sought the conversation, they will be more open to criticism and praise.

Positive Attitude ( I'm OK - you're OK )

The feedback recipient should feel comfortable with the conversation. The positive attitude of the feedback giver gives the other person the feeling that communication is being made at eye level. The feedback recipient is recognized and taken seriously. The positive basic attitude promotes the feeling for an uncomplicated and pleasant conversation.

Approaching Attitude

The right posture also contributes a lot to a positive course of a conversation. The feedback giver should stand or sit facing the feedback recipient with an open posture (upright but relaxed, looking at the feedback recipient with friendly facial features). Self-confidence, competence, energy and balance are radiated through an open posture.

I Messages To Emphasize Subjectivity

The feedback provider should express their concerns in so-called I-messages. These I-messages could be:

  • " I noticed that... "
  • " I noticed that... "

This creates trust and does not sound like negative criticism or accusations.

Allow For Justifications To Reduce Facade

The feedback recipient should be given the opportunity to justify themselves. It is possible that this opens up a bit and the feedback giver gets to know a few sides of the other person that the feedback recipient has not shown before. In the best case, this strengthens trust and respectful interaction with one another.


Show Alternatives
The feedback provider should also have alternatives ready for his feedback discussion, which can be agreed upon if the discussion does not go as desired and the feedback receiver does not want to get involved with the desired goal.

Only Give Feedback On Things That Can Be Changed
The aim of constructive feedback is for the feedback recipient to develop and optimize as a result. It is therefore important to only give feedback on details that can actually be changed.

Highlight The Positive

Successful feedback is only possible if you also emphasize positive details and not only concentrate on the negative ones. For the self-confidence and motivation of the feedback recipient, it is important that the feedback provider also addresses the positive characteristics and achievements.

Concrete – Reference To Behavior Shown

The feedback giver should define his concerns clearly and be able to relate and explain them to the behavior and performance of the feedback recipient.


Feedback should be given promptly, ie shortly after the event. Only in this way can the feedback bring the desired influence and success.

Relevant – Pay Attention To The Essentials

The feedback provider should concentrate on the essentials during the conversation. He shouldn't beat around the bush, but rather address his concerns specifically.

When giving feedback, it is important to get the consent of the desired interlocutor (the feedback recipient). If this is spontaneously and ignorantly presented with a fait accompli, the desired success of the feedback discussion will not materialise. The feedback seeker will feel left out and cornered, and will hardly be able to view this conversation as positive.

Separate Person And Behavior

When giving feedback, you should make sure that you separate the person (feedback recipient) and his behavior (which is why the feedback is taking place). The focus of the conversation should be on the behavior and not the person.

Hold Up The Mirror

In some situations it can be useful to imitate the feedback recipient's behavior in order to make the situation more understandable for the feedback recipient. It is important that the feedback recipient continues to feel taken seriously and respected.

Initiate Via The Johari Window

Self-perception is usually different from the perception of others. By using the Johari method, one can visualize the perception of others and oneself and thus make it easier to start the feedback discussion.

Watch Out For Projections, Drama Triangle , Glitches, Etc.

When giving feedback, it is important that interactions remain respectful and polite. The feedback provider should therefore prepare in advance how he can deal with any disruptions. The feedback provider must also pay attention to a possible projection of the feedback recipient. For example, the feedback recipient could interpret the sentence: "I think your behavior was stupid" as meaning that the feedback provider personally finds the feedback recipient stupid. Of course, the feedback giver should not argue in this way (see I messages to emphasize subjectivity). The feedback provider should also keep the drama triangle in mind in order to be able to react correctly if necessary.

Debriefing / Feedback Round In The Seminar Context

Through the debriefing, the participants are tempted to reflect on what they have learned, what they have experienced, the last teach. This strengthens self-awareness and acceptance of the training.

The trainer can ask the following questions, which will give him additional information.

  • How did you feel about it?
    The trainer can learn more about the personality or character traits of the respective participant through the targeted question.
  • What did you learn from it?
    This question allows the trainer to find out to what extent the participant was able to develop further through the respective exercise.
  • What would you do differently next time?
    In this way, the trainer can find out to what extent the participant has understood the exercise or the teach and how willing they are to change.
    Afterwards the feedback can be given.

  • What else do you need to learn/practice about?
    The trainer can use the question to determine the extent to which the participant’s self-perception corresponds to the trainer’s perception. In addition, the participant is encouraged to self-reflect.
  • What can you associate or apply that to?
    On the one hand, the trainer can use this question to find out to what extent the participant has understood the teach or the exercise. On the other hand, the trainer can find out to what extent the participant can develop new thought goals regarding the discussed topic.

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