A Guide To Providing Feedback On Communication Skills

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 5 July 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Good communication skills are an important part of a cohesive work environment and can help to keep everyone motivated and promote collaboration. Giving team members feedback on their communication skills can help them grow as professionals. Understanding the importance of this type of feedback can help you when you receive it, or it can be a valuable skill to have if you are thinking of taking on management responsibilities. In this article, we learn what feedback on communication skills is, explain why it is important and share examples of where colleagues have used it successfully.

What Is Feedback On Communication Skills?

Feedback on communication skills refers to an evaluation of the social and communication skills of employees or team members. This feedback helps employees evaluate how effectively they process information and communicate it to others. Giving feedback on their communication skills is a good way to let them understand their strengths and shortcomings in workplace communication. Constructive evaluation can inspire employees to be good communicators while creating a healthy and positive work environment.

You can refer to all kinds of workplace issues while providing feedback on a team member's communication skills. For instance, if one of your teammates does not participate in team engagement activities, you can discuss with them why teamwork is important when building strong professional relationships.

Related: Communication Skills: Definitions And Examples

Why Is Giving Such Feedback Important?

Giving team members feedback on their communication skills is important for these reasons:

Goal setting

The ability to plan effectively for the future can motivate employees and accelerate results. If a team member does not communicate effectively, feedback can help them improve workplace communication. Connect with teammates through meetings to define organisational and individual goals and plan how to reach them.

Related: How To Set And Achieve Long-Term Goals (With Examples)

Self-awareness

Giving feedback to colleagues about their communication skills can make them more self-aware. They can identify their strengths and work on their limitations. Constructive feedback, instead of judgment, tells colleagues that you believe in them and want them to be successful. For instance, you may want to help someone with email etiquette, including being concise, polite and responding promptly so that the sender does not feel neglected. Brief, in-person feedback sessions can help you communicate these messages effectively.

Professional growth

When you guide someone about their verbal or written communication skills, you provide direction and support to help them work better. This builds their skills, drives self-confidence and promotes professional growth. This can also maximise productivity and help them achieve goals faster.

Related: 7 Leadership Theories For Career Growth

Accountability

Accountability is an important factor in building a high-functioning team. You can help team members review their performance and become more accountable by discussing their communication skills. This lets them know the company's expectations and helps them work to reach set goals.

Tips For Giving Feedback On Communication Skills

Here are some tips for providing effective feedback:

Be specific

It is important to give feedback that is direct and solution-oriented. If you want to offer corrective feedback, avoid making general comments and focus on the points that require attention. Be specific about the company's expectations and offer guidance on how the person receiving the feedback can improve. For instance, a team member may be an inattentive listener. Instead of providing generic feedback on why attentiveness is important, you can suggest that they minimise online distractions, use focus apps to improve concentration or practise meditation at home.

Keep it private

Avoid providing feedback to an employee in public or before other employees. Ensure you arrange a one-on-one meeting or video conference to talk to them about their performance. Even if you are praising their work, a private meeting works better than a public announcement. You can also consider giving feedback via email. This gives you time to reflect while offering a thoughtful answer.

Focus on performance

Focus on the employee's performance and skills rather than their personality traits. Try to highlight specific areas that require improvement rather than talking about their nature or who they are as a person. This ensures you are both professional and sensitive. For instance, if someone does not handle phone conversations well, instead of asking them to rectify their behaviour, you may ask them to be more attentive and respectful.

Encourage discussion

Giving feedback is easier if you ask team members to reciprocate through questions or other topics that they might want to discuss. You can also ask them if they have follow-up questions or require support to work on the feedback. This shows you are empathetic, and it can reassure them. They are more likely to engage in performance reviews and discuss opportunities for improvement.

Examples Of Feedback On Communication Skills

You may consider the following examples of feedback on communication skills during a performance review:

Feedback on strengths

If you want to praise your team member for their communication skills, here are some examples you can use as a guide:

  • "I appreciate your ability to listen to others. Whenever I am talking to you, I can tell that you are processing what I am saying and thinking of ways to continue the conversation. During meetings, your questions show you understand what your colleagues are sharing and that you want to contribute."

  • "Thank you for always expressing your thoughts or concerns to me. As someone who values open communication, I appreciate learning how my team members feel about their work. I know I can get honest feedback from you that I can use to help the entire team."

  • "I know a lot of our work happens on the computer, making communication extra important. I am proud of you for how well you have adapted to using our various digital forms of communication. Whenever I read your emails or direct messages, I can imagine you talking to me in person. This is quite helpful as a manager, as I get a lot of digital messages throughout my workday."

  • "I have noticed that you have strong communication skills. For example, during team meetings, you share helpful insights while also giving your colleagues a chance to share. I appreciate how you can help maintain a productive conversation and make your team members feel important."

  • "One thing I admire about you is your ability to communicate clearly with others, no matter the situation. An instance I remember is when we were really busy last month. Our intern asked you a lot of questions one day, and despite being busy, you were patient with her. I could tell she appreciated your responses and learned a lot from you."

Feedback on weaknesses

If you notice a team member needs help to improve their communication skills, these examples can help you decide what to say to them:

  • "I really appreciate your enthusiasm during team meetings, but you might consider giving others the chance to speak. It is also important to show others that you are listening to them by making eye contact, nodding, smiling, taking notes or asking questions after they finish speaking. A group meeting where everyone gets a chance to share their thoughts is more effective and inclusive."

  • "When you write emails, I would appreciate it if you took a moment to read through them before sending them. I have had feedback from clients that some of your emails are a little unclear. I think this is because some of your emails have typos and grammatical errors. By being a bit more aware of this, I think we can communicate better with our clients."

  • "I have noticed that you post about your colleagues on social media. We value the privacy of those who work here, so I would appreciate it if you kept internal communications private. I try to create an open and trustworthy work environment, so being respectful of our company and its employees on social media is important."

  • "Sometimes, I notice that your communication skills decline when you are busy at work. When you feel stressed, I wish you would communicate this with me rather than feeling frustrated. Try using deep breathing exercises to calm down or ask if you can take a quick break outside. Learning ways to compose yourself when you feel stressed can help you be a more effective communicator at work."

  • "You have a great sense of humour, which many of us enjoy. I want to give you some feedback to help you empathise with others when making a joke or funny comment. It is important that you remember that your colleagues may have different sensitivities and life experiences than you. Keeping your humour more work-appropriate makes people feel more comfortable at work."


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