How to PREP feedback for success

Before you offer feedback, make sure you PREP first.

It’s a simple four-part formula to make your feedback more specific, actionable and clear. And it’s incredibly easy to do, whether you’re offering unsolicited feedback or asked to weigh in on an issue.

“PREP” stands for Point, Reason, Explain, & Prompt. And it can be applied virtually anytime and in any situation.

Let’s say your boss asks for your thoughts on a new product idea. Instead of offering up a hazy or unfocused praise sandwich, use the PREP method to deliver more specific and substantive feedback.

Point: “I have concerns about the new product.”

Reason: “It seems to me that developing this concept is going to interfere with other important projects.”

Explain: “My team is deep into our current project, and taking on something new will push us off course. That’s gong to cost us valuable time and resources.”

Prompt: “Could we hold off on the new concept until our current project is finished?”

Or, if you see a report doing something that needs correction, try this:

Point: “I think you should consider listening more and talking less when meeting clients.”

Reason: “You’ll actually get a better understanding of their needs this way.”

Explain: “Our clients really appreciate it when they feel heard.”

Prompt: “Would you like me to show a few techniques that have helped me?”

Here’s why the PREP approach is so effective:

  • You state your feedback clearly and up front. (Specific)
  • You provide clear rationale and context to back up your feedback. (Clear)
  • You offer purposeful alternatives instead of just shutting ideas down. (Actionable)

Rather than disguise our feelings or dance around them, we share feedback openly, honestly, and with radical transparency. We tell people where we stand and make sure they understand why we feel that way. And because we offer context and future directions, we don’t alienate others or cause undue resentment.

The PREP approach is an effective way to handle feedback in a variety of settings and situations. Whether you’re offering advice to a report, pointers to your boss, or even guidance to your child, PREP your feedback before you give it. You’ll not only make sure that others hear what you’re saying, but will want to act on it, too.

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