Give Effective Feedback With A Sandwich!

Yes, you read it right. A sandwich can help motivate your friend, co-worker or anyone (whether hungry or not) to take in the feedback you are giving.

First of all, there are two types of feedback, the negative and the positive.

Giving a negative feedback is tricky. It is a powerful tool that can propel business or personal relationships forward. Or it can break them. That’s why you need to know HOW to give them.

The usual way that people communicate their mean er.. negative feedback is via a direct method. Ex: Dude, you stink. Dude: Friendship over.


The direct approach is good when talking to a robot, presumably because they don’t have hearts. For humans, it’s better to always keep in mind that these fickle and sensitive creatures have this hollow muscular organ that pumps the blood , which their use thereof is to an over-abundant degree, if you ask me.


The best approach in giving a negative feedback that would still lead to positive results is through the Sandwich Method.

TSJ - Mara's Sandwich - January 30, 2015

Let’s take a look at the sandwich above for instance, looks delish but it could use another round of mayo slathering … but that’s not the point. The point is, the important part of the sandwich is the middle. Without the middle, your sandwich is plain old stale bread with a dusting of sesame seeds. Boring. The bread on top and on the bottom are mere vehicles for the sandwich to be. Without the bun, it becomes as a mere meat dish. Plus, how are you supposed to eat this thing with your hands without the bun?

An effective feedback is much like a sandwich. As we have established above, humans are ego-driven and critical information given to them, especially if it is something they have anything to do with, will make them defensive or passive.


The best approach is to lift them up first. Give a complement to an aspect they are doing really well. Ex.: Dude, this is a great analysis of the co-relation and dependency between 10 unrelated things! And watch how Dude’s face will light up. But before you do this, make sure that what you are giving is absolutely genuine and it comes from the heart or at least from an in-depth analysis of facts.


The next step is to give the not so positive feedback that you’ve been dying to blurt out. Ex.: But how is a paperclip going to co-relate the mutation of the Ebola virus? Isn’t this just a little ambitious?

sad-crying-l (1)

But just when Dude is about to throw himself over the bridge out of despair, lift him up again with something really positive. Ex.: I know you have mastered the science of a quantitative method in research and you are the best guy there is in the team. So shifting your study objects would not be too much of a problem for you.

When you only give a negative comment, the receiver tends to defend himself/ herself or opt to ignore your comment. Putting your negative feedback in the right perspective will give your comment more value as it will be seen as something constructive rather than just a rude remark.


And the best part is, when Dude believes in rainbows and ponies again, you can insert an advice, “Hey, how about a co-relation between paper-clips and the death penalty” -Which may or may not be subject to another negative feedback.


Mara Cantonao
Mara Cantonao

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