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Feedback is essential in both professional and personal development, offering additional insight into our behaviors and performance from an outside perspective. The most important aspects of the feedback process are taking the time to fully comprehend the responses you receive as well as developing a plan to effectively implement it. We have compiled a set of best practices below to employ when seeking and applying feedback from your peers and advisors.

How to Solicit Feedback

While the content may vary based on who is providing it, you have the ability to better control the quality of feedback you receive by adhering to the following actions:

  1. Be Specific – Never ask for general feedback. Instead, seek feedback on particular aspects such as a specific project, skill, or performance.  
  2. Ask Open Ended Questions – Frame questions in a way that solicit a comprehensive response, straying from the simple yes/no structure. Ask questions such as “What could have been done differently” or “What goals should I be working toward”.
  3. Be Receptive to Feedback – Try to avoid appearing defensive or justifying your actions. By actively listening and accepting all feedback, you are better able to begin taking the right steps towards change and improvement. 

Most importantly, it is important to show gratitude towards the provider of the feedback. Showing that you value their input will encourage more feedback in turn.

Acting on Feedback

Once you have received feedback, it is crucial that you dedicate time to creating a plan to apply it. To ensure that feedback is successfully acted upon, we recommend taking the following steps:

  1. Analyze – Dedicate time to analyzing and reflecting on responses you received. Take into account the different points made and consider how they can be broken down into actionable steps.
  2. Set Goals – Think of SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound) that can set your feedback into motion. Make sure to set goals centered around feedback that is clearly defined and attainable. 
  3. Implement Changes – Be committed to change. Acting upon the feedback you receive will help to improve your performance and increase your level of proficiency in the skills at hand. 

Feedback is an extremely valuable tool that allows us to consider small details, or even larger concepts, that we may not have the insight to give thought to otherwise. However, the quality of feedback received is largely impacted by the way the request is framed. By learning how to efficiently solicit feedback and act on it accordingly, we can enhance our personal and professional skill sets and adopt a growth mindset.

Jessica Cox
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