Step-By-Step Constructive Criticism Examples for Performance Reviews

September 2, 2021
5 Min Read
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Timo Kuilder

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Performance reviews are just around the corner, and you’re trying to figure out how to structure your constructive criticism. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you give your peers the constructive criticism they need to excel in their roles. 

To learn more, check out our complete constructive criticism guide to get the rundown of things feedback!

1. Start with the positives

Start with the positive the meeting starts on the right foot. By stating the positive feedback, you’re setting the tone for the rest of the meeting. First, take the time to thank your peer for their hard work, and be sure to be specific on the positive feedback. The key idea is not to sandwich your feedback between positive feedback. Keep them separate from one another. 

For example, if your peer gave an excellent presentation be sure to compliment them on their public speaking skills. Then, lead into the constructive feedback from there providing specific areas of improvement. 

Try this: “Your presentation skills were great. When you provided those customer testimonials and specific numbers of our email open rate, I thought it added color and context to your deck. Not to mention, you kept everyone engaged by asking questions to the audience and pausing periodically through each slide. All in all, great work. With that being said, there’s always room for improvement, so are some suggestions I have.” 

2. Pinpoint areas for improvement clearly

Now, here is where constructive criticism comes in. Once you’ve given the positive aspects of the feedback, be sure to note the specific behaviors that need changing. These areas of improvement are the vital parts that need to be communicated effectively. Be clear, concise, and straightforward. It may seem awkward at the moment but remember that the advice you’re giving will only help them reach their full potential. 

For example, once your peer receives positive feedback on their presentation, now it’s time to uncover the blind spots in their public speaking skills. This is where your delivery skills are put into practice.

Try this: “With that being said, there’s always room for improvement, so are some suggestions I have. I noticed that you seemed stiff at some points throughout the presentation like when you were explaining how our NPS was getting much traction. And there were times that your body language was a bit closed off. Essentially, I didn’t see much walking around, arm gestures, or much eye contact.

If you want to get your message to come off across clearly and get buy-in from folks on the team, displaying positive body language will increase your communication competency. It can be nerve-wracking to speak in front of a big crowd, but I think if you practice positive body language it will make for a more engaging and impactful presentation.”

3. Find solutions together and follow up 

The hard part is over. You delivered constructive criticism and now it’s time to provide guidance. The most important part of giving constructive criticism is coming together to find solutions for the feedback receiver. You don’t want to leave them hanging. 

Try this: “I’ll pause here for any questions you may have (pause and clarify any questions the receiver has). Let’s come up with an action plan to get you more comfortable with giving public speeches. 

Next time, I recommend practicing a couple of times with folks on the team or even me. Like a mock presentation. Or even try recording yourself to see how you perform. If you use notecards, I would suggest adding cues to walk around or make eye contact with people in the audience. The idea here is to get comfortable with the information you’re presenting so your body language comes naturally.

With that being said, I know you have another monthly shareout meeting in a couple of weeks, so let’s check in a week before to do a run-through. Send me a Google Calendar invite and I can block off that time to provide any support or feedback. How does that sound?”

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