Just What is a "Feedback Sandwich?"

All of us love to hear positive feedback. It’s something we also love to do – praising another person and acknowledging their contribution or performance. However, very few of us are comfortable with giving negative feedback, suggesting changes, or analyzing someone’s job performance.

When delivering negative feedback, you must handle it with great sensitivity to help the other person to receive your message, without becoming defensive. As an added benefit, you may also feel much more comfortable delivering the message. 

The “Feedback Sandwich” is an effective technique to use. What this means is that you “sandwich” the suggestion for improvement or critique between two positive statements. 

So what are the steps to making this sandwich?

  1. Prepare what you want to say. Know exactly what you are going to say before you start the conversation. 
  2. Start the conversation with something positive, like a compliment or praise.
  3. Then make a request for change. Use “I” statements. You might say, “Next time…let’s try doing it this way…”
  4. Follow with another praise. For example, “By the way, great job on…” And provide encouragement for success!

By delivering your feedback along with some genuine, positive comments, the other person is much more likely to hear your message and make the desired changes.