Delivering Quality Relationship Feedback


Delivering quality feedback is a very important – and tricky – function of results-driven communication. Differences in delivery strategies abound: Instigator-type (I-type) communicators prefer their feedback to be blunt, focused, to the point, accurately negative and predictive, yet respectful of the person who is developing a solution. Conversely, Empathizer-type (E-type) communicators, prefer their feedback to be seasoned with lots of words, show-me-how-to-do-it suggestions, genuine not sarcastic, and full of you-can-do-it encouragers. Neither style is better or worse. Crossed wires, however, can cause a tremendous firestorm.


Communication Question: How do you confront a person about a mutual problem without turning off good communication or butting your nose into a relationship place it doesn’t belong? How can you give corrective feedback in a caring way that protects the relationship and respects the individual?

The Talk to Me© System Answer: “It’s all in how you communicate!” Confrontation can be a tough nut to crack when your emotions are like fog enveloping the communicator highway. Tapping on the brakes to slow racing emotions is accomplished through “a heavy dose of communication” or “raw and real communications.” That’s the real struggle – communication. As you know, trust and respect encourage each of us to put our best communicator foot forward.


How do you confront a personal problem without turning off good communication? Well, here’s how to talk to both I- and E-types on a personal level that won’t cause confrontation or conflict:

TALK TIME: With both communicator types, you first must focus your communication trip on a simple destination, or you will end up lost or in a talk accident. What do you say when you sit down at the communicator table to talk? Suppose the focus is on getting back in the habit of talking with your friend about personal or business matters. It’s like taking a fine car out of the garage and taking off the dusty cover. The car will run like a top just as soon as you turn the key! How to warm talks up again?

1. I JUST WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT WITH YOU. I want to open up our lines of communication. I know we’ve been so busy we haven’t had much time to talk much. Let’s talk.

2. MY INTENTION IS TO….I HOPE YOU TAKE THIS THE WAY IT’S INTENDED. We’re at a point with the business where we have many critical decisions to make in the next few years. We have to communicate well and plan ahead to meet the business challenges and make good decisions. I hope you take this the way it’s intended.

3. I WANT YOU TO HEAR ME OUT. I don’t want you to shut me down or shut me out. I’m not the best at expressing my feelings, but I want to be perfectly clear here. I’m feeling sort of nervous, anxious, even afraid and insecure about the future.

4. WE NEED TO GET BACK INTO THE HABIT OF TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE. We need to have a good plan to lead us into the future. Things are changing all around us, and we can’t afford to be in denial or stick our head in the ground like the proverbial ostrich.

5. WE’VE GOT TO GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS THAT ARE CAUSING US NOT TO COMMUNICATE. We’ve got to stop being so distracted by the busy day that we forget to take time to talk about the tough issues. We can’t deflect talking about tough topics by joking, either.

6. I WANT TO OPEN UP CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION WITH YOU. Are you happy and comfortable with everything going on? I’ve noticed that you haven’t seemed happy for quite some time.

7. WHAT COULD WE DO TO MAKE THIS BETTER? Time goes by so fast. Let’s sit down at least once a month and review what we’ve done to move forward. It’s got to be a priority to review action items which have been completed. What behaviors do you think we need to change?

8. WE HAVE SOME CATCHING UP TO DO ON THE COMMUNICATION FRONT. Bottom line: We have some catching up to do on the communication front. History says we’re good at this, and we need to get our butts in gear now.

9. BLAMING (DRINKING, TIME CRUNCHING, SHOPPING, ETC.) TO RELIEVE OUR PROBLEMS IS A TRAP. We’ve got to mull over how to keep clear-headed about the issues we need to deal with.


Can you give me a little constructive feedback? Not on your life, unless you know my communicator type! Otherwise, you will be using your preferred style with me, and that shoe may or may not fit. But I’m ready to “Just Talk” with you any time. If I prefer that my bread is buttered with positives in advance to hearing negatives…what type does that make me? Well, don’t you know how Empathizers and Instigators prefer their feedback differently…?


Dr. Dennis O’Grady is the developer of the TALK TO ME© positive and effective communication system that will improve your communication skills fast in your personal relationships and at work, too. Why invest a few bucks and a little time to better your communication style in streamlined steps? Why not! Using bad communication is like throwing opportunities and money right out the window of your blue or burnt orange communicator car. Good communication pays big dividends, while the Blame Game drives you and your relationships — personal or professional — into a ditch.

Refusing to change the oil in your car means you will get partway down Talk Highway, but you will burn your engine out and need to call a tow truck. The TALK TO ME system is comprised of clear rules to make your trip down the two-way communicator highway effective and enjoyable. “The light bulb came on!” effect is just one of the key benefits you’ll receive when you personally use this innovative approach to good communication.

Don’t feel like you’re in the driver’s seat of your own life? Start preparing to get your license to drive on the two-way communicator highway right now! Get improved communication results that will benefit everyone with whom you correspond, in the workplace or at home. When you use the TALK TO ME© effective communication system, you’ll experience a communication trip you won’t soon forget!

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