Understand what is feedback in communication with real examples and feedback processes. In addition to the importance, types, and effectiveness of feedback.
What is Feedback in Communication?
Feedback is a vital part of the communication model. As the sender transmits a message, the receiver decodes it and offers feedback.
In simple words, it is the response of the receiver. For effective communication, there must be a back-and-forth exchange of messages and feedback between a sender and receiver.
The key purpose of feedback in communication is to let the sender know if the message has been successfully transmitted and the receiver responds in the desired manner.
A receiver may offer either positive, negative feedback or no feedback. Good feedback in the communication process is used to measure the efficacy of the message.
The feedback process cycle utilizes the dynamic elements of communication. These elements interact with each other and lead up to the sender gaining feedback from the receiver.
The process of feedback contains the following:
1) Sender: The first component of communication is the sender or the source of the message. They start off the communication process by first deciding how to translate ideas into a message. This can be done through words, symbols, pictures, writing, etc. The sender encodes the source information and forms the message they wish to convey.
2) Channel: The next element that leads up to getting feedback is the channel. A channel is simply the medium through which a sender communicates information to the receiver. It can be oral, written, virtual, use sound and gestures, etc.
3) Receiver: The receiver is the target the message was intended for. Once the message is received, the receiver decodes the content and forms an understanding of what the sender wishes to communicate. Effective communication only occurs if the receiver comprehends the message exactly as the sender intended.
4) Feedback: As the receiver decodes the message, they communicate their response to the sender using a feedback channel such as oral feedback or written feedback. The principle of feedback is to let the sender know the message has been received and how efficient it was.
Importance of Feedback in Communication
There are numerous advantages of feedback in communication. It is an essential part of an effective communication cycle. Good communication requires an exchange of information between a sender and receiver. Without feedback, two-way communication is not possible.
Here’s why feedback is of utmost importance in communication:
1) Let the sender know a message has been received: The feedback mechanism in communication is important as it confirms the reception of the message by the intended target.
This helps the sender know the channel of communication they used was efficient in delivering the message to the receiver.
2) Helps in decision-making: Whether it is positive or negative, feedback is an important catalyst in the decision-making process.
Positive feedback helps in letting the businessperson know if customers are satisfied with their products/services. Negative feedback is also helpful as it can be used as constructive criticism to improve and make necessary changes.
3) Feedback directs performance: In a company, feedback helps maintain a sense of accountability in its employees.
If a subordinate does a task incorrectly or fails to achieve the desired objective, they are given feedback based on their performance. They can use this feedback to learn and aim for better results in the future.
4) Feedback increases engagement: A good manager understands the use of feedback. They allow suggestions from workers in order to get creative ideas and boost work enthusiasm. When employees know their input and contribution of ideas are taken into consideration, they feel engaged.
This ultimately improves the quality of the work done as subordinates feel their suggestions matter in the decision-making process.
5) Serves in communicating effectively: The feedback loop allows the sender to identify possible gaps in communication. This information can be used to improve the effectiveness of future messages.
The sender can make necessary changes to how they deliver the message, the channel they use for a particular target audience, tone, timing, etc.
Examples of feedback in communication
Example 1.0: feedback given by management
Situation: Applicant didn’t meet the target competency level in Problem Solving and Judgement
Appropriate feedback: For Problem Solving and Judgement competency we were looking for an example that demonstrates behaviors at level 4. Your example for Problem Solving was at level 2:
You demonstrated that you linked together pieces of information to solve the problem and identify a solution and you were able to identify simple cause-and-effect relationships to understand issues or problems.
In order to meet the target level 4 your example needed to have the following elements:
- Taking time to analyze component parts of the problem.
- Talking about various consequences of possible actions and anticipation of obstacles.
Inappropriate feedback: You did really well in the interview and we were impressed with the examples you shared with us. Unfortunately, your example for problem-solving and judgment wasn’t detailed enough.
Example 2.0: Positive and developmental feedback
Example of Positive Feedback:
“The budget estimates you presented at the last staff meeting were very detailed and gave us good criteria for decision-making.”
Example of Developmental Feedback:
“My expectation was that you would provide us with more details on the event budget. Because we didn’t have enough information, we won’t be able to make our final decisions until later this week. What can you do to ensure that we will have the correct information?”
Example 3.0: Feedback for “Effective Communication Skills” Training
The below mention examples are real feedback given by corporate professionals after attending communication skill training.
This trainer is excellent. The training was really helpful. This will definitely enhance and improve my output, my carrier & also my personal life. – P. Vijayakumar, Asst. Manager – PMT, Mando India Steering System Pvt Ltd.
The program was informative and gave light on the required areas to be known for good communication. – Ms. Nivitha Nantakumar, Management Trainee, Lite-On Mobile India Pvt Ltd.
Excellent and most useful training. Improved communication skills. This training improved my self-confidence. – V. Vijayakumar, BEML, KGF
Overall the training program is good and it will help a lot in the implementation of our daily official duties and effective communication skills. The duration of training must be more so that it can be more effective. – Mr. Firdose Pasha, BEML, KGF
Types of Feedback in Communication
There are three types of feedback in the communication process.
1) Informal Feedback: In the work environment, informal feedback comes mainly in the form of one-on-one conversations with peers, managers, subordinates, etc.
This is a direct form of feedback in the form of an interaction using methods of feedback such as oral or written feedback. Informal feedback is spontaneous in nature. This type of feedback can be perceived positively or negatively based on the perception of the person receiving it.
2) Formal Feedback: This type of feedback is usually offered after making an observation for a long period of time. It can be directed towards an employee, studying market trends for a product or the company’s performance as a whole.
It targets studying performance over a period of time and providing a feedback report to keep what is working and discard what is not working. Examples of formal feedback can be work surveys, performance appraisal processes, etc.
3) 360-Degree Feedback: Also known as multi-source feedback, this type relies on collecting data from a number of people part of the organization (supervisors, subordinates, customers, suppliers, etc).
It is an effective form of feedback as multiple perspectives from several people are channeled into analyzing and improving performance across different areas.
Effective Feedback in Communication
Effective feedback is achieved when the receiver understands the message as the sender intended. Positive feedback offered by the receiver can be used as positive reinforcement and negative feedback as constructive criticism.
In communication, effective feedback achieves the following:
1) Completion of the communication process: Receiving feedback is a major component in the completion of the communication process. Effective communication operates on a two-way channel with a sender and receiver exchanging information with each other.
2) Getting suggestions: Feedback helps in the collection of information from the target receivers. This information is crucial for a business to identify the areas it can improve and promote growth.
3) Measures efficacy of a message: The sender can use feedback to assess how efficient the message is. By inspecting the positive or negative reaction of the receiver, the sender can identify the limitations in communication.
4) Improves manager-employee relations: Two-way communication between superiors and subordinates ensures a smooth functioning workflow. This promotes a congenial work environment where employees and managers interact with one another to create a better growth stimulus for the company.
5) Boosts work enthusiasm: In an organization, employees are given feedback in the form of performance reviews. This helps in holding the workers up to a certain standard of performance. Smart business professionals incentivize better performance which ultimately boosts work enthusiasm.
Role of Feedback in Communication
Feedback in communication fulfills the following roles:
1) Two-way communication: Feedback achieves the completion of two-way communication. For effective communication, it is necessary for the sender to transmit a message to the receiver and gain feedback.
2) Verification of message delivery: Feedback helps in informing the sender that their message was received and how well it was understood by the receiver. Based on the feedback received, the sender can take further action.
3) Communication improvement: Depending on whether the feedback received is positive or negative, the communicator can improve the way they communicate and identify feedback barriers in communication.
4) Better coordination: Effective feedback adds significantly to the communication system in an organization. It ensures there is coordination between departments and employees.
What is immediate feedback in communication?
Instant feedback is a quick form of feedback implemented by companies. The scope of feedback of this type covers communication on an individual level or the organization as a whole.
It uses modern equipment and technology such as web-based and mobile-based systems to communicate promptly and receive spontaneous feedback on queries.
This type of feedback offers multiple advantages. On an individual level, it increases employee participation as it allows them to give and receive feedback in real-time.
For the organization as a whole, it helps managers study key metrics which can be used to formulate new strategies for growth based on the instant feedback received.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What are the characteristics of feedback?
Ans: Characteristics of effective feedback are:
- Specific: Effective feedback is specifically targeted and objective, instead of vague.
- Intentions: The aim of feedback is directed towards improving performance.
- Timeliness: For feedback to achieve maximum efficiency, the more prompt it is, the better.
- Clarity: Effective feedback is communicated clearly and must be understood by the receiver.
Q2. What are the benefits of feedback?
Ans: Feedback is the only way for the sender to know that the message has been received by the target audience. In a company, feedback helps in collecting key information about how well a product or service is performing in the market.
Q3. What is zero feedback in communication?
Ans: The zero feedback denotes no response from the receiver end. This may be due to the respondent being clear on the message sent by the sender and having no feedback to give in return. Sometimes managers may also not have any feedback for an employee that is performing up to the mark.
Q4. What is negative feedback in communication?
Ans: Negative feedback happens when the receiver of the message does not respond the way the sender intended. This can be in the form of declining a request, giving a negative review, refusing to cooperate, etc.