Giving and Getting Feedback after an Activity or Event

Bob Urichuck

Giving and Getting Feedback after an Activity or Event

One of the toughest parts of being a leader is giving and getting feedback. Without feedback no one knows where they stand. Input from those involved is a must-do when it comes to overall performance and productivity.

Today is feedback day. Conduct casual one-on-one interviews with team members—from those who contributed heavily first, to recognize their appropriate behaviors; to those who did not contribute at all, to get them more involved. At the same time, it is an opportunity to get their feedback on the event and on how you did. Without feedback, how can you improve; how can your meetings improve? This is the time to be asking questions, listening, and, equally important, to be taking notes.

There are many feedback models out there, but it all boils down to asking questions. Start by asking permission to ask questions and take notes. Then ask open-ended questions such as, what when well, what did not go so well, what should we do differently next time? The idea is to get the other person thinking and talking. Question their answers, listen and go deep. The more they talk the more you will learn. 

Do not get defensive or take things personally; just ask questions for clarification, listen and continue to take notes.

Once a team member has given their feedback, ask permission to give them some feedback. Here are some basic principles to follow:

  • Focus on the situation, issue or behavior, not on the person.
  • Maintain the self-confidence and self-esteem of others.
  • Maintain constructive relationships.
  • Take initiative to make things better.
  • Lead by example.

Keep your feedback positive and if anything, consider using the following hamburger technique to introduce areas of improvement.

The Hamburger Technique

Think of a hamburger—a soft bun with the meat in the middle. The soft buns represent the positive behaviors and the meat represents the area of improvement. You start by giving positive feedback then indicate, from your point of view, the area of improvement. You end with another positive feedback.


1. You know, Pete, I was impressed with your contributions in yesterday’s session. You participated in your group and you gave a masterful presentation that I’ve come to expect from you. You have such an easy, friendly style. The team couldn’t help but be carried right along. I think you probably gave one of the smoothest, most interesting presentations I have ever heard. 

2. In my opinion, you may want to engage other team members in doing the presentation as well, as they are not as comfortable presenting as you are. By including them, you are giving them a chance to overcome their fear of speaking in public, while giving them a chance to shine. They could learn a lot from presenting alongside of you.

3. Mind you the group did appear to be happy when you did the presentations. Of course, knowing you, I thought perhaps you were doing them a favor. You see, that’s how much confidence I have in you. Well done!

Now give it a try and if at first you don’t succeed, learn from the mistakes made and try it again. You didn’t master riding a bicycle the first time you got on it, did you?