Let Me TelYou

Giving Feedback Exercise

An exercise for learning how to express your opinion and give advice properly.
Practice by playing real-life scenarios close to the work environment.
You learn simple and actionable approaches for giving feedback.


Personal skills

Improved feedback skills

2 People

40 min


  • You avoid giving feedback
  • You don’t know how to give feedback
  • People don’t listen to, understand or accept your feedback
  • The feedback you are giving quickly escalates into conflicts


  • People listen to and clearly understand your message
  • People less offended and fewer conflict situations
  • People accept your feedback more easily
  • People take actions after your feedback
  • People feel supported and appreciated


Find another person for the exercise
Get familiar with the exercise (The Pill)
Read how to do the exercise (Instructions)
See the scenario attributes (Scenarios)
Learn the feedback method you will use (XYZ approach)
Start the exercise by selecting a random scenario
Give feedback by following the Instructions
Switch roles and let the other person select a random scenario

… And so on, take turns like a ping-pong game

The pill starts here {
Give feedback
She expects people to follow the processes very strictly and seems to get very annoyed when someone does not do it.
She lacks balance in judgement with regards to when to stop going into details.
Proactively informs people of decisions made when they were absent from a particular meeting.
This is expected from everyone, but very often is missed.
Darth Vader
Exceptionally goal-oriented and focused on results. He is able to take decisions quickly. Sometimes, these decisions could be extreme and not take into account the circumstances. He is ruthless. The team morale quickly declines after his actions – sometimes, team members even disappear.
He lacks experience in front-end development.

He sometimes goes into too much detail when doing his tasks. He should value priorities more.

He doesn’t ask questions when he has a problem.
He does not take the initiative for tasks he is confident about and has the knowledge – he just does not start working on them. He is slow in execution and is often distracted.
One of the very few people in the company who can easily communicate. Tony really knows how to choose his words and to compose himself.

Perfect in listening and understanding. Doesn’t raise his voice. He has an excellent way of presenting information.

When there is an issue, she escalates it too soon. She doesn’t take enough time to think about solutions on her own before asking the others for help.
For someone in his position, he is not expected to stay silent in the corner during meetings with the client. He should be more active if he wants to grow.
He has great ideas but has even greater problems in presenting them. He fails to express his ideas in team meetings.
Looks how to improve the process, proposes improvements (taking into account his experience from past projects) and tries to implement them.
Accepts and listens to suggestions for process improvements.

She always focuses only on her own work. When she completes a task, she doesn’t care if she affects someone else’s work.

He asks a lot of questions, enters into conflicts and annoys colleagues.

Little Red Riding Hood
Brave, goal-oriented and very kind. She is always smiling and is loved by everyone.
She has poor risk management skills and enters dark territories without having a contingency plan.
Often someone gets hurt because of her actions. And her obsessive compulsive disorder that “everything should be red” drives everyone crazy.

He often speaks badly of others’ work when he should work on the quality of his own. On the other hand, if someone finds issues in his work, he reacts negatively and takes it personally.

Always following the process, she makes sure everyone else does as well. She is interested in what are the best practices for each specific situation.

She doesn’t understand the requirements and doesn’t look for additional information. Because of that there are differences between expected and actual results.

There are always many issues with his work. There are always remarks during the design reviews. There is always someone who has to correct his work.

He often refuses to accept someone else’s opinion and enters into unnecessary conflicts during meetings.

He is often too strict when people don’t know something or there is an issue.

Tasmanian Devil
Very good QA engineer – he is able to break everything and find all kinds of bugs.
On the other hand, his automation testing is unusable by others – there is no quality, a lot of chaos and unclean code.
She’s always ready to help and explain things.
She expresses herself with great clarity. She is able to communicate effectively in formal and informal situations. She is an active listener.

Luke is a Product Owner who often brings unnecessary stress.
He always pushes his team. The team have planned to spend 3 days tearing. But he wants them to be ready in just 1 day.


Emma always takes the most interesting tasks, even if they are low priority. The others are unhappy.

He should share the actual work status during daily meetings. He should not say that there are no problems when he is working 3 days on a half-day task.

Adam is a higher manager, who oversees all projects in the company.
He often participates in meetings with the excuse that he will only be a listener, but he doesn’t keep his promise and is the most active speaker.

Always positive. It’s a pleasure to communicate with him.
Great communication with the client.

Charlie is a senior QA, who often expresses his discontent in front of the team when he has to complete someone else’s work.
This distracts the team and brings tension.

She is always against everything and she often dislikes something.
She acts like a “hater” and the team feels uncomfortable in such an environment.

He thinks only about himself and doesn’t care about anyone. He hates working in a team.
He is very stubborn and knows only his way of working. His decisions are often based on brute force and without much thinking.

She is notably tenacious – she doesn’t leave work undone if she doesn’t solve it on her own.
On the other hand, she misses the point when she should ask a colleague for help or when she should escalate.
This often leads to delays and affects the other team members.

You have to tell him the same things a few times.

She is always trying to solve a problem with her current knowledge.
Even if she knows that using another technology would be better, she will not read to get acquainted.

When the technology isn’t interesting to him, he works extremely slowly.
When it is new, he finds it interesting, but only for a while.

XYZ approach
XYZ approach
The Checklist
Facts and examples

Give examples and be more specific when giving feedback on someone’s behavior.

Focus on behavior

Talk about the behavior of the person, not the person themselves.
Behavior is something that can be changed.

Solutions or guidelines

Try to give solutions or guidelines when you have such in mind.
This will help the other person take actionable steps towards improvement of their behavior or work.

With empathy

When giving feedback make sure you do it with an honest understanding of the other person.

Avoidance of ‘but’

Avoid “but” because every word before it will be considered false.

} THE PILL ends here

Doctor’s advice

Give negative feedback privately. Positive feedback could be given in front of other people.

Use an individual approach and take into account the other’s personality.
Feedback should be given in a timely manner. On the other hand, if emotions are too high you should wait for them to subside.
Adjust the feedback approach based on your own preferences and the situation.


Giving feedback becomes a regular activity for you. Other people start giving feedback as well.

The teamwork and relationship with the other person is improved. Moreover, you deliver better results together.

When you give feedback to more introverted people, the XYZ approach could make things worse.

When you give feedback on several topics, the XYZ approach might stop the person from listening.

For better effect – take together with

Getting Feedback Exercise
  • Team members don’t put the problems on the table
  • Team members don’t trust each other
  • The team is slow
Clear Communication Exercise
  • People misunderstand you
  • People don’t react as you expect
  • You are often involved in conflicts
  • You can’t defend your position
  • You unwillingly agree to requests
  • You attack when defending