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Giving and receiving feedback

By RICHARD WARD Published 1st Nov 2013
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Feedback is one of the most important parts of any training experience. For trainers and facilitators, feedback allows you to see what is and is not working in your training program. For employees, it shows that their views are important and that they are valued.

In this way, feedback is a crucial form of communication between various components of an organisation. It has become a routine part of most formal training courses and sessions and is used as a marker to determine whether goals and objectives have been met.

Giving Feedback

Giving feedback can take many forms during the actual training session. On one end of the spectrum a quiz might have right and wrong answers. At the other end of the spectrum, a discussion session that is similar to a seminar at college or university might not have pre-planned outcomes. A trainer needs to be able to operate in both scenarios and this means being knowledgeable and confident about the topic.

It is important to be positive when giving feedback during a training session. Phrases such as "I disagree" or "you're wrong about that" are likely to do more harm than good. Rather, something like "that's an interesting point, but if you look at it from a different angle you might see that there's a potential problem," are more constructive. Another useful technique is to invite other members of the group to respond to comments.

Receiving Feedback

Receiving feedback is often done in a more formal way. Many group training sessions end with some form of questionnaire that allows participants to have their say about its usefulness. An example of a typical type of questionnaire is one that has closed questions and that asks participants to rate aspects of the training session from 0 to 10. This allows for easy comparison between responses.

Open questions, which need people to use full sentences to answer them, can also be useful as they enable people to give feedback with their own voice. A combination of both approaches helps to give an accurate impression. However, a good trainer can also gather feedback during the session by observing, listening, and being attentive.

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