Effective Feedback in Communication – Types, Purpose & Importance

How to give an effective feedback to our students or subordinates ? – Giving feedback has became a part of our personal lives. Some people are more comfortable in giving feedback about the things they want people to continue, but some people not.

So let get started…

What is Effective Feedback ?

Feedback is a message that indicates the understanding or agreement between two or more communicators in response to an original message.

Feedback message allows the sender to assess whether the receiver has understood the message and whether the message has had the desired impact.

In case of doubt by the receiver , he may also ask for further clarification of some parts of the original message . Even silence is a kind of feedback as a certain message does get conveyed in the process.

According to Wikipedia, feedback occurs when outputs of a system are routed back as inputs as part of a chain of cause-and-effect that forms a circuit or loop.

Function of Feedback

The various functions of feedback in the communication process are as follows :

  • Feedback ensures the communicator that his message has been received and understood by the receiver.
  • Feedback enables the communicator or the sender of the message know whether the audience is interested in the subject – matter or not.
  • Feedback helps in evaluation of what is right and what is wrong in a particular communication.
  • Feedback helps in reinforcing , giving rewards or punishments.

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Purposes of Feedback

In modern times , feedback is essential to serve the following purposes :

  • To provide information to the subordinates about the work to be done.
  • To facilitate understanding of organisational goals by the lower levels.
  • To give specific directives to the subordinates.
  • To give information about organisational procedures and practices.
  • To appraise the performance of the subordinates.

Types of Feedback

There may be four types of feedback as explained below :

types of feedback

Self – Feedback : Self – feedback applies to the words and actions that are transmitted into one’s central nervous system as he perceives his own muscular movements and hears himself speak.

Suddenly realising that the speech is loud in a library or feeling the twist of tongue on mispronunciation are few examples of self – feedback.

Listener’s Feedback : Listener’s feedback may be verbal or non – verbal. The verbal feedback involves verbal responses and may take the forms of questions or comments.

Non-verbal feedback, on the other hand, may be transmitted by applause or laughter, indicating approval, or a blank stare, indicating disinterest or confusion.

Positive Feedback : A feedback is said to be positive when it is given promptly and with interest in the subject matter. In other words, positive feedback refers to a response, which is correctly perceived with the acceptance of reality. Under such type of feedback the sender agrees to the subject-matter of the original message.

Negative Feedback : A feedback is said to be negative when it shows some resistance and unwillingness in acceptance of the original message. Under such type of feedback, the sender does not agree to the subject matter of the original message.

According to a recent article in the journal American Behavioral Scientist, “high-performing teams share nearly six times more positive feedback than average teams.”

Requirements of Effective Feedback

requirements of effective feedback
  1. Specific Purpose : Feedback is a purposeful activity. For instance , in case of superior – subordinate communication, feedback is directed towards improving job performance and making an employee a more valuable asset. Effective feedback , thus , is directed towards the performance aspects of the job.
  2. Descriptive : Effective feedback can be characterized as descriptive rather than evaluative. It tells the sender as what has been in objective terms rather than presenting a value judgement
  3. Usefulness : Feedback should aim at supplying information so that the performance can be improved. If the feedback is not capable of correcting or improving the performance , it is not worth mentioning.
  4. Clarity : Feedback should be capable of being clearly understood by the recipients.
  5. Timeliness : Effective feedback is always timely . As a rule , the more prompt the feedback , the better it is. Timely feedback provides a better chance for improvement to the sender of the original message.

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Importance of Feedback

The significance of communication in business arises from the following factors :

  1. Confirmation of Transmission : The main purpose of communication is to transmit some information from one person to another. If the person to whom the communication was sent, sends his feedback, the sender can become sure about the transmission of the message.
  2. Seeking Solutions to Problem : Feedback helps the managers to obtain suggestions and viewpoints of their peers, superiors and subordinates on various problems. The problem, hence, gets solved out easily.
  3. Identification of Change Required : Feedback helps the managers to locate sensitive areas where changes are required. The managers, thus, are more conversant with the organisational needs and can work accordingly.
  4. Better Understanding : Feedback ensures proper understanding on important issues among the individuals and groups in the organisation. This would lead to an atmosphere mutual trust, confidence and co-operation in the organisation.
  5. Better Planning : Feedback helps the managers know as to what the subordinates are doing. It highlights their work, achievements, progress and future job plans. This implies better planning for the future on their part.
  6. Overall Coordination : Communication aims at providing coordination in the functioning of an organisation. Once the expected feedback is received on some communication, it implies all round co-ordination with in the organisation and thus, results in smooth and efficient operations.
  7. Psychological Satisfaction : When the employees are given a chance to give their feedback on the communication, they feel related in expressing their reactions. This results in providing satisfaction to the employees and fulfilling their psychological needs.
  8. Higher Productivity : When the employees are encouraged to give their feedback and talk with their peers and superiors, they get a chance to release emotional tension. This results in their better concentration on work, implying better productivity.

According to author Colin Baker for Leaders.com : “An employee shouldn’t feel nervous or fearful when meeting with their boss to discuss feedback.

FAQ : Effective Feedback in Communication.

Q1. What is an Effective Feedback ?

Ans. An Effective Feedback is a message that indicates the understanding or agreement between two or more communicators in response to an original message.

Q2. What are the types of Effective Feedback ?

Ans. There are four types of Feedback :

  • Self Feedback
  • Listener’s Feedback
  • Positive Feedback
  • Negative Feedback

Q3. How to give an Effective Feedback ?

Ans. An effective feedback should have

  • Specific Purpose
  • Proper Description
  • Usefulness
  • Clarity
  • Timeliness

Tags : Effective Feedback in Communication, Types of Feedback

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