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  • everydayfeedback

Use the See-Hear-Feel Method Before Giving Feedback

Updated: Nov 3, 2020

Familiar scenes:

  1. Your co-worker didn’t complete their part of a shared project.

  2. Your boss asked you to do a time-consuming task as you were headed home at the end of work hours.

  3. Your direct report released inaccurate information to a customer.

  4. Your spouse or partner committed the two of you to an event without asking you.

Your instinct is to tell them why their behavior bothers you. But that may not get you the results you want.


Take a few seconds to envision the perfect improvement you want to see. This may be hard because you feel stressed and a little angry, and your brain may be a bit of a fight-or-flight mode and unable to focus on possibility.

But feedback that arises from this stress place often sets you back. It creates stress in the other person, and they are left clueless about how to do things right.

Your vision should include what you SEE, HEAR, and FEEL. For instance:

  1. I see my colleague walking in my office, & I hear him report his status on our project every day.

  2. I feel calm & confident that if he’s behind or distracted by other assignments, I am the first to know.

  3. I see a call on my phone from my boss. I hear him ask me to handle the situation first thing tomorrow. I feel trust in him for telling me right away and respect for my personal priorities.

  4. I see my direct report double-checking information on his computer screen and hear him calling the customer to provide updated, accurate information. I feel confident that my team is delivering excellent service.

  5. I see my partner at the dinner table and hear him ask if I would like to join at a work party. I feel pleased to be consulted before committing to social occasions.

Then make sure your feedback conveys…

all three steps—SEE, HEAR, & FEEL. Plus all the details they need to implement your vision in the future.

All of this does seem a little unnatural, but please give it a try. Notice how much more helpful your feedback is for the other person, & especially for you!

The Feedback Imperative book

Learn More

Read The Feedback Imperative for more information on how to give great feedback!

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