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Effective communication can have a big impact on a business’s bottom line. BayWa r.e. CEO Boaz Soifer and Strategy Manager Krysta Riggle, discuss one component of effective communication—giving and receiving feedback.

Click here for examples of the “SET” statement, and for the “I Feel” statement. (Or scroll down if not on a podcast app.)

SET Statements 
“SET” stands for “Support, Empathize, Truth” and is a good reminder that when someone feels seen, they can also better receive feedback. 
  • Support 
  • “I” Statement.  
  • For example: “I want to support your development.” “I want to help you succeed.” (must be a true statement – the person will be able to listen better if they feel supported.) 
  • Empathize 
  • “I” Statement.  
  • For example: “I know you have been working hard on this.” “I know you tend to have very high standards for yourself.” (Must be true – if you don’t know how someone is feeling, don’t just guess.) 
  • Truth 
  • Direct statement about the truth as you see it.  
  • For example: “The way in which you communicate can come across as arrogant, and this alienates people.” 
An example of a SET statement is, instead of “you are doing a terrible job,” “I know you have been working hard on this new process, and it must be frustrating not to see it functioning yet. The truth is, we need to have someone else work on it to make sure it is tested by the end of the year.” 
“I Feel” Statements 
“I Feel” statements are a little more complex, and more appropriate for situations that are already emotionally charged.  
  • When ___________, I feel _____________. 
  • This separates the incident from the feelings about it. 
  • My belief about this is ______________. 
  • This acknowledges that you may be putting your own “spin” on the incident. 
  • In this moment, I am going to ______________. 
  • This acknowledges that you are taking responsibility for your own reactions and state of mind.  
  • My request of you in the future is _________________. 
  • This acknowledges the other person’s freedom of choice. 
“I feel” statements go like this: 
  • “When you _______, I feel _______. My belief about this is _______. In this moment, I am going to _________. And my request of you in the future is _________.” 
  • The person receiving the “I feel” statement reflects it by repeating back, as verbatim as possible, the complete statement. If the “request” part can be addressed, that gets added to the response.  
  • This tool focuses on the person making the statement communicating their wants and needs without blaming their counterpart for “making them feel” a certain way. It needs to be role-played and used consistently to get past the awkwardness one feels when first doing it. But trust me – when both people know what they’re doing, this can totally diffuse a really difficult situation.