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Understanding an Essential Communication Tool — the 5 Types of Feedback

Updated on April 25, 2016
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I'm a dad a husband & a Christian first. The rest is just life's add ons - an educator, administrator, learning & development professional

how meaningful re the feedbacks in your meetings.
how meaningful re the feedbacks in your meetings. | Source

Have you had any experience with employees who just don’t give you enough feedback? It’s like pulling teeth just to get them to say what’s on their mind. Although many managers and leaders just put this behavior aside, it’s important to underscore that the right response and information can propel business to the top of the industry.

First and foremost feedback is an essential tool in communication. Moreover, from customer feedbacks to employee comments, information is a pivotal ingredient in business success. The problem however is that many fail to utilize the power of response.

Anything from response, reactions, comments, criticism, advice (solicited or otherwise), and opinion to a mere nod constitutes a feedback. Obviously, the amount of useful information you get from them varies greatly. Understanding each one will help managers and leaders make use of information better –and perhaps solicit more meaningful information.

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1. Confirmatory Response

The simplest and perhaps the most widely used of all the systems of response is the confirmatory feedback. Here, the recipient of the information simply acknowledges the receipt of the information. However, when someone yells out “got it”, it does not necessarily means he or she understood it.

Some of the more popularly known response in this category includes nods, Yes, No, shrugs, head shaking, thumbs up or thumbs down. For those more techy people out here, the read receipt in emails is a good example.

Samples:

  • Statement: The author is cute.
  • Response: Ok, if you say so.


  • Statement: Handling angry customers is difficult if you don’t listen to them.
  • Response: Yes it is OR No, it’s really easy.

2. Corrective/affirmative response

A corrective feedback either provides correction to the statement or agrees with it. This is a tad more informative than the previous type. Even though this is a very simple response, it provides additional information that can help clarify the opinion or views of the person.

Samples:

  • Statement: The author is cute.
  • Response: No he’s not, he’s really, really cute.


  • Statement: Handling angry customers is difficult if you don’t listen to them.
  • Response: Yes that’s true, listening is important.

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3. Explanatory Response

Moving one more step higher, the explanatory response offers more information. In this case, apart from confirming and affirming the statement, the person provides reason to his/her opinion or view.

Samples:

  • Statement: The author is cute.
  • Response: Yes he is, look at those beautiful eyes. OR Are you crazy, he has a huge nose!


  • Statement: Handling angry customers is difficult if you don’t listen to them.
  • Response: Yes, listening allows you to pinpoint the root cause of the customer complain.

4. Diagnostic Response

Sometimes it is insufficient to give one’s opinion and explanation. For such instances, a diagnostic response is required. Here, a person offers an analysis of the information that supports his or her opinion. This provides clarification on the subject although it may not always be logical or right.

Samples:

  • Statement: The author is cute.
  • Response: Yes he is, his eyes are blue and I really love that eye color.


  • Statement: Handling angry customers is difficult if you don’t listen to them.
  • Response: No it’s not; if you know the common problems you can offer solutions right away. It only becomes difficult if you don’t know what you are doing.

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5. Elaborative Response

This response is essential to many businesses as it offers additional information apart from what is presented. Moreover, elaborative responses include reference to personal experiences, studies or researches – and other information that can enlighten the discussion.

Samples:

  • Statement: The author is cute.
  • Response: Perhaps, but cute is a subjective term. Since cute is also used to describe dogs, I’d be careful in using the term to describe him.


  • Statement: Handling angry customers is difficult if you don’t listen to them.
  • Response: It is difficult if you are not prepared in handling irate customers. Research has shown that properly handling angry customers decreases customer anxiety. By listening intently you can offer possible solutions to the problem.

Make no mistake about it, the quality of information you get will help your business grow. However, if you are still stuck in the confirmatory response level, then you’d better make changes in the way you communicate with people.

Quick Queries

  1. How do you encourage employees to share their ideas?
  2. How open are you to employees' opinions?
  3. How odften do you interact with your employees/subordinates to get their views?

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    • sofs profile image

      sofs 4 years ago

      Informative Hub. Thanks for sharing. Have a lovely day!

    • jpcmc profile image
      Author

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Thanks for dropping by sofs. Have a nice day as well.

    • profile image

      Mark P. 4 years ago

      Hi sir JP. I hope you remember me. I attended your training on corporate communication last year. It was really fun and informative. The article is a great review of what we did during the training.

    • jpcmc profile image
      Author

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi Mark, I remember you. You're the one we tied to the podium. Thanks for being a sport! Yes, this is a quick review of one of the topics on corporate communication. I hope you were able to use them well. It's nice to connect with you again.

    • profile image

      pretty cling 4 years ago

      Hi to the cute author! This is very informative at the same time you made me smile with your examples.

    • jpcmc profile image
      Author

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello there pretty cling. It's nice to make people smile and give info at the same time. I hope you can use these feedback info.

    • profile image

      Ryan 4 years ago

      Some of my office mates are stuck on the confirmatory level. Sometimes it's even hard to get a confirmation from them.

    • jpcmc profile image
      Author

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Ryan,

      Don't you just hate it when people don't give you enough feedback!

    • DFW TEEN VOICE profile image

      DFW TEEN VOICE 3 years ago from Richardson, Texas

      Excellent topic to write about! enjoyed the reading and will learn to listen more regarding feedback from your article. Much Success!

    • jpcmc profile image
      Author

      JP Carlos 3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi DFW TEEN VOICE ,

      Thank you for the kind words. I do hope you can use the information here to improve communication. The more meaningful we can communicate the better.

    • marion langley profile image

      marion langley 3 years ago from The Study

      Interesting. I'm glad to hear business situations sometimes call for more detailed answers. I like giving them and socially people often just want the most basic answers. Thanks for writing. I especially liked how each example built on the last...nice organizing.

    • jpcmc profile image
      Author

      JP Carlos 3 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there marion langley,

      I appreciate the kind words. The quality of information that we give and get will have a huge impact on our decisions.

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      ginner 12 months ago

      it helps

    • jpcmc profile image
      Author

      JP Carlos 2 months ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      ginner, I am glad that this article helps.

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