↗️ Relying on FBI for feedback!

Do you wish you had a way to give productive feedback to someone who caused negative emotional impact on you?

There’s a simple model, called FBI that can help us here.

It’s unrelated to any US agency and stands for 3 steps in a mini-process:

Feeling: Share how you feel about something
Behavior: Describe what the other person did to cause you to feel this way.
Impact: The practical consequence of their behavior, other than your feeling.

Here are 3 examples how this could sound:

“I feel disappointed that you arrived thirty minutes late to the meeting yesterday afternoon, and now I’m unsure how to plan the next one.”

“I felt grateful when you stayed late last night to help me with the presentation. It allowed me to make it home in time to put my kids to bed.”

“I was shocked in the meeting, when you suddenly asked me to present on the spot and I delivered something I was not proud of.”

This simple format has several advantages:

– We share our feelings, which no one else can argue with.
– We describe ideally objective, factual behaviours and impacts.
– This works positively and negatively.

The neutral, factual nature is vital, because it keeps our share on very defensible ground.

This is very different to statements that are much more attacking and less specific.

Here are 3 NEGATIVE examples, analogue to above:

“I feel you don’t care about our meetings anymore, as you always come late.” (the feeling here is not about self, but the other person. Also, we use ‘always’ = emotional trigger).

“Thanks for your help last night. Wished everyone would chip in like you.” (while positive, this feedback lacks specifics in terms of behavior and impact)

“I feel completely set up by you yesterday in the meeting. You knew exactly that I was not ready to present. How could you?” (This is pure emotional attack, including assumption of negative intent. A defensive responses is likely next.)

These examples don’t sounds too unusual, correct? We hear variants of this all the time. This shows how easily, unproductive language slips in on a daily basis.


FBI is a simple and powerful ‘mental helper’ to express an emotional impact on us to someone else, in a way that is much less likely to lead to immediate defensiveness.

We focus on our own feelings, on the other person’s observable behavior that lead to it, and the factual impact on us. Ideally, this helps us stay on solid ground…away from assumptions, allegations and outright attacks.

I consider this technique to be a valuable building block in a Leader’s communication toolkit. We can apply it in ANY conversation..with team members, peers, our own bosses.

Lastly, is this automatically a perfect conflict-solver?


A certain share of people you meet will not be impressed by facts and may even argue with your feelings. However, for most of us, it is more likely to work than not.

Give it a try today!

The last tip I have for you: the simplest way to remember doing this is by starting your sentences with “I feel…” and then talk about yourself, not the other person. Let facts follow.

Good luck!


Maik Frank

Maik is a PCC Executive Coach and the founder of IntelliCoach.com. He has coached and trained over 400 People Leaders to improve their communication skills and offers guaranteed measurable growth to his clients. He also hosts the Coaching Leader Podcast.

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