If we want people to act on our suggestions for improvement, the trick may not be what we say, but how much we share. While it’s tempting to try to fix all the wrongs we find in others, going after everything means getting comparatively little in return.
It’s neither helpful nor productive to pile on feedback that becomes too overwhelming the moment it is delivered. Being particular about our feedback rescues people from information overload and helps them focus their decision-making energy on one choice at a time. The less we say, the more others will do.
When you give feedback, choose your frame carefully. You can’t fix everything, and not everything matters. Stick with feedback that helps people become incrementally better. Provide them with small but significant support. It’s easy to build bike sheds. But with the right feedback techniques, we can help people build – and become – so much more.