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Giving feedback one-on-one: what channel makes sense for what kind of feedback?

Corey Loehr
December 1, 2022
Giving feedback one on one

There are many ways to communicate these days - Slack, group text, airplane skywriting…okay, maybe that one is a little outdated. But communicating and giving feedback is super easy; you could pick up your phone and call someone directly out of the blue. 

When you’re a manager giving positive feedback, direct constructive criticism to a subordinate or a trainer who works with them, how can you be sure of the best way to deliver potentially sensitive information? Not everyone will respond best to a private Slack message fired off at 11:57, so what channel makes sense for giving effective feedback? Let’s find out. 

Why do you need a feedback channel in your business? 

Feedback is as important to your employee as it is to your fitness studio business. According to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), over 60% of employees prefer receiving and giving feedback daily or weekly. This might include formal, formative, summative, or constructive feedback. 

Feedback is a tool for continued learning; it can improve performance, motivation, and effective communication. Although business leaders are starting to see the need for giving constructive feedback, only some understand how to do it. For example, confronting an employee with entirely negative and belittling feedback, using inappropriate feedback channels, or giving performance feedback at the wrong time isn’t going to improve anything at all.

Choosing the right type of feedback and channel means analyzing  the context and the individual receiving feedback; no one style fits every person or situation. Therefore, business leaders must adapt and, with practice, give effective leaders. 

Below are some things to consider when giving feedback. So, keep reading to know more about giving feedback tips.

Giving feedback: when to send a public message? 

Straight off the bat, it’s a good idea to adhere to a simple rule of thumb: appreciate employees in public, that is, try giving positive feedback and criticize them in the closet. You just need to know how to give feedback at the right time.

A fitness studio manager’s job is not humiliating their trainer or subordinate. You can communicate a quick correction in public. However, you should always deliver major negative feedback in private, to allow the issue to resolve privately. Since feedback is to improve things, don’t make your employee feel insufficient in front of their peers and colleagues. 

On the other hand, you can and should often give positive feedback in public - such as in physical and online team meetings, shared workspaces, team instant messenger, and any other medium that connects everyone in the team - as it can have a tremendous effect in front of peers.

When to send a private message on a work-specified messaging app? 

Communication channels in the workplace are designed for generally open communication across teams. However, most work-specified messaging apps support the private message function, which allows a message to be viewed and ready by a specific recipient. 

As explained above, some feedback must be kept private. A private message on a work-specified messaging app is an ideal way to offer feedback since only the recipient can view it. Not only this, but it is also suitable for discussing a complex or contentious topic. 

When you text or send a private message, do it like a professional. Use professional language, stay on topic, and remain polite at all times. Texting like a professional is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from textual harassment. Remember, you are sending a private message. Although the medium is a work-specified application, you encroach on the recipient’s dedicated space. Therefore, don’t use discriminatory or harassing content when you text. 

When to send a private message on a personal messaging app?

Sending a private message on a personal messaging app is entirely different from doing the same on a work-specified app. Unlike the former, which is reserved for formal communication, the latter is a more informal communication channel. In other words, you can use it to deliver an official business message in a more relaxed manner. 

Still, don’t text your employees after business hours, except if it is an emergency. You must also follow the etiquette of texting your employees to protect yourself, even while you make your point. Some of them include: 

  • Assume nothing is private and protect your fitness studio resources
  • Set clear expectations and actions required when texting 
  • Ensure the private message is work-related 
  • Be concise without bothering the recipient 
  • Limit the number of texts you send  

When to deliver feedback over video conferencing? 

Video conferencing is mostly used for remote work and communication. Therefore, when giving good feedback video conferencing is the most appropriate way to deliver if they work remotely or it is urgent and shouldn’t wait.  

Before giving feedback, examine the cost of not responding as soon as possible. If the feedback is small, do it along with other tasks. However, if the feedback is big, set aside deliberate time to discuss it, even if you need to schedule a video conference. 

When to deliver feedback in person?

Online messaging tools cannot replace face-to-face conversation when it comes to giving effective feedback.

When delivering feedback, do it face to face if you’ve attempted online feedback and you’re not getting results. For example, if you’ve offered constructive criticism two or three times prior, it may be time to invite the employee for an in-person chat. 

Physical feedback is also vital for amplifying the effects of praise and appreciation. If an employee has done something worth commending, deliver the feedback in person. If possible, do it in the presence of other employees.


Feedback is valuable to the employee and organizational growth. Your employees need it, and so do you. For effectiveness, make it timely, talk about the situation and not the individual, give praise when it is due, and be problem-focused and specific.