Feedback makes improvement easier

To be able to develop and become better you first need to know what you can improve and how. One way of doing this is to get feedback, to get comments not only on the facts but on how the facts are presented. Because of this feedback is essential in training communication skills. 

The emphasis of the feedback is on the positive aspects, to highlight the strengths. Further, to give personlised suggestions on how to improve the presentation. By giving positive feedback we create a safe environment, strengthen confidence and make sure that what a student does that is good is kept for future performances. Many students say they feel more confident and less nervous during presentations already during their first semester.

You also improve by giving feedback - when you learn to identify what is good and why or what someone could have done better you increase your own awareness of communication. Students giving feedback also practice acting as an supervisor/advisor and participating in discussions. By needing to formulate their experiences of a presentation students learn more and can include this when reflecting on their own presentations.

During their first year bachelor students get an introduction to giving and receiving feedback. At the seminar they discuss how feedback should be given and how to deal with feedback you get. This have shown to greatly increase the quality of feedback given by students.

Feedback varies in how it is given but we try to give oral feedback when concerning an oral presentation and written feedback when concerning a written text. To do so we have feedback forms for the audience to fill in and give to the presenter directly after the presentation. One can appoint a student a primary opponent where students give feedback to each others presentations.

How to give feedback

We use a model of giving feedback that start with formulating the positive critique, concerning both content and context. Next comes constructive critique that should include suggestions on how to improve. Feedback should be given as soon as possible after the presentation and be direct, honest and constructive. Base feedback on yourself, and express yourself in "I". That is, express yourself with e.g. "I had problems understanding your introduction because...". Also try to formulate yourself in a positive manner, for example you can say "try to look more at the audience" instead of "don't look down into the floor". Thus turning feedback into a more positive experience while still retaining the suggestion for improvement.