I – Introduce the conversation
“Hi, when would be a good time for us to talk about something I think will be helpful?”
“Do you have 2 minutes to talk through something…?”
This introduction gives choice and preparation time to the other person but does not invite a “no” for them. It assumes the conversation will happen and soon.
It assumes the principle of having constructive conversations one-to-one rather than in front of a group.
M – State your motive
“I am keen on us having the best working relationship possible…”
“I want to bring something up with you which should really help you with this project …”
Stating positive intent is really important for all feedback.
Be authentic and honest. If you are trying to score points or beat the other person, then you aren’t well-placed to give the feedback.
S – Situation
“I’ve noticed …”
This is where you describe the situation or the data or the behaviour – what you know, have seen or experienced; just the facts, no judgement, simply what you have noticed and when.
It may take practise to use just facts, rather than judgements. Judgements sound like ‘Unprofessional’, ‘Patronising’, ‘Insulting’, ‘Idiot’, ‘poor’…
Q – Question
“Are you aware of this?”
or “What do you think?” or “Why is this happening?”
This is the time to ask them their opinion or their view of the situation.
They may be already aware, know it is happening, have heard this feedback before or have no knowledge.
Or there may be facts they share that you didn’t know that pivots the entire conversation into a different direction.
You never know what they’re going to say and need to flex to it – and it may mean you don’t need the next step…
I – Impact
“Do the consequences seem to be X?”
or “When you do this, it makes me feel…”
You might not need to share the impact, yet often sharing the impact on you, another person or the situation is useful for the other person to know.
F – Feelings/thoughts
“What are your feelings/thoughts?”
A second check on their view to find/resolve any misunderstandings before moving to a solution.
F – Future
“I have a suggestion which may help …”
“Next time I notice this would you be ok with me mentioning it to you?”
This final piece is future focused and explores together what can be done to improve things.
E – End Well
“Thank you for being so open to that conversation”
This is really important.
Whilst you may want to get out of there as quickly as possible, it is important to end on a positive note. There is always something genuine to commend.