Feedback is such an important part of our 3×4 Coaching model. Giving people information about their performance is one of the best ways to help them get better.

But do your people actually know that the information you’re telling them is intended as feedback?

A woman walked up to me in an executive leadership program I was teaching and said, “My 360-degree feedback from several of my employees says that I don’t give enough feedback. That’s nonsense! I give feedback to them all the time.”

My advice to her was to use a yellow highlighter.

She told me that that wouldn’t work because most of the feedback she gave was verbal.

“Let me give you some feedback on that.”

“Then use a verbal yellow highlighter,” I responded. “Whenever I have to give anybody feedback, and I want to to make sure it’s been heard and recognized as feedback, I always use the word feedback and emphasize it… as in ‘let me give you some feedback on that.’

On the next day of the program she walked up to me and said “Oh my gosh that was so simple, and it will make a big difference. In thinking back to my conversations with my employees I realized that very often when I was actually giving them some feedback I rarely used the word feedback, so they didn’t recognize it as such when they were asked.”

It will definitely help the employees’ performance and, secondarily the results on her 360 feedback.