making feedback dialogic

We would like to identify a few basic rules that are relevant for constructive dialogue that emphasises learning and constructive feedback processes:

  1. Take the time necessary for the discussion and establishing contact (rapport)
  2. Speak in the first-person voice (“I” statements)
    Express your perspectives and truths in such a way that they are recognisably your own thoughts.
    Here are some examples: I’ve noticed that… My impression is…, I find that…, instead of using the second-person voice (you did or said this or that) or speaking in generalities (people don’t do that, that’s not how one behaves…)
  3. Talk about specific situations
    Naming examples and specific situations helps your discussion partner to classify and understand what you have said.
  4. Talk about behaviour, not in attributions.
  5. Speak about a person’s patterns of behaviour and action that you have observed. These can be changed. Attributions often begin with assumptions about another person’s identity. You are such and such a person…Such attributions lead more to manifestations of personal attitudes than to a change in behaviour.
  6. Express your feelings.
    Share how the situation has impacted you emotionally; e.g., I found it strange when…, I thought it was regrettable when…, this made me feel uncertain…
  7. Offer alternatives and requests
    Give your requests a direction and express them: I think that behaving in this way would be more appropriate; Had you reacted in this way, then…
  8. Take time to listen to your discussion partner’s observations. Let your discussion partner explain their position. Make sure that the discussion doesn’t get bogged down in justifications. Maintain a constructive attitude.
  9. It may sound mundane, but practice has shown that communication rules can support dialogue processes here and there.