The very same pastors who feel sceptical when people say, “that was a lovely sermon”, are often guilty of offering the same vague feedback to others.
Valuable feedback is specific feedback. Whether it’s positive feedback or negative is be site the point. Feedback that helps people correct or continue what they’re doing must be clear in a few ways;
- Clear behaviour noticed.
There must be an action, or behavior (think “something that could be caught on video”) that is being addressed. It can’t be a vibe, or a feeling, and certainly not a motivation or intention!! (E.g. “when you looked away while I was talking” is fine, “when you tried to hurt my feelings”… is not fine)
- Clear implications of the behaviour
there needs to be clear consequences that happened because of the behaviour. These don’t have to be observable, they can be feelings. I felt encouraged, I felt excited, the mood in the room changed, everyone looked at their bibles, etc.
In an ideal world, those consequences would be clear to the point of a resulting behaviour… I was excited to talk to my friends, I was scared to raise it again, I was encouraged to pray bigger prayers.
Good feedback helps people be gooder.