Everyone has their own communication style and therefore their own writing style. There is no right way to write feedback. However, there are some guidelines and tips that can help you with your writing. The more often you write, the better you get at it.
Make it personal
Write your message in your own style, using the same words and terms you would use in face-to-face contact. In addition, pay attention to details that are unique to this client.
Is it possible to simply copy and paste all feedback to the next client who follows the same module? Then your feedback is not personal enough.'Impersonal' sentences are not wrong, as long as they are varied with personal ones.
Focus on what goes well
It motivates the client if you focus on what went well. If possible, give your client a compliment.
What makes a written compliment a good one?
- Indicate what you have observed
- Tell why this is 'worth' a compliment
- Only give a compliment if you mean it
- Do not exaggerate
- Do not compare with the past or with other people
- Try to avoid judgements
Check your assumptions
When you read a message from a client, you are observing or noticing something. Formulate a hypothesis rather than stating that something is 'the truth' and ask the client if they recognise and/or agree with this.
From: I see that you do many things to control your fear. To: It seems that you do things to control your fear, for example, always asking a friend to accompany you when you go out on the street. Do you recognise this?
Keep it short
You do not have to respond to everything the client has written. Very long feedback is more difficult to read and too many details are distracting. Stick to the purpose of the session and choose one or two topics to give further feedback on.
Structure of a message
A message generally consists of the following parts:
Write your greeting based on how you normally communicate with your client.
- Opening sentence
When you meet a client, you don't usually go into the details right away, but offer your client a cup of coffee, take their coat, etc. Online, it works the same way: you don't start with the core of the feedback, but you open with a good opening sentence.
Good ways to do this are: Give the client a compliment for sending the information. Make a remark about something that happened during your last contact moment.
Make a short summary of what the client wrote. This shows that you have read the client's message thoroughly and also allows you to check whether you have understood the client correctly.
Try to use the same words as the client as much as possible. This clearly shows that you have read what the client wrote and you minimise the chance of a misunderstanding.
- Main subject
Write 1 or 2 paragraphs about the main purpose of your message. Especially in the first sessions, you may come across many things you want to respond to. Do not do this. Stick to the goal of the session and focus on the most important information that is in line with this goal.
- Next steps
After reading your feedback, it should be clear to the client what to do. Should the client continue with the next session? Should the client respond to your message? When will you meet again?
Do you also see the client face-to-face, or do you have telephone conversations with the client? Then refer to these contact moments in your feedback, and vice versa. Show that ehealth is an important part of the treatment as a whole.
Like the greeting, your closing should correspond to how (in)formal the contact with your client is. A friendly greeting, best wishes or until next time, it can all be appropriate.