How to Start Using Performance Review Phrases

Understanding the importance of performance review phrases may have been easy. Keep your team upbeat and encouraged–simple enough. What might come as a challenge is how to actually start using positive phrases. You can’t just walk in there without practice and expect your employees to understand anything that you are saying.

We have three tips for you to start using performance review phrases in your evaluations:


You have likely realized that all the tips are to practice. Trust me, keep reading, they are all a little different. This is a bit like that joke about Carnegie Hall. “Do you know how to get to Carnegia Hall?” “Practice, practice, practice.”

For the first round of practice, just practice by yourself. Whether it is recording yourself speaking, looking at yourself in a mirror and saying phrases in progress, or you are yelling into a dark abyss and listening for an echo. You want to be able to hear yourself saying these phrases. If you can’t say them without them being sincere, change the wording until they are sincere. Imagine a certain person on your team while you’re practicing.


Phase 2 initiated. For the next stage of practice, pull in another manager where you can both practice your phrases on each other. You might pick up phrases they have come up with and find influence. Feel comfortable just stealing the phrases, unless they are also reviewing your employees. If they are also reviewing your employees, it could be weird getting verbatim feedback from two people.

While recruiting for this practice, select someone that you are close to and someone that will be completely honest with you. If you select someone that doesn’t know you as well as your team members, they might not fully grasp your tone and they might think it works while your employees would disagree. You want everything to stay consistent once you finally meet with your employees.


For the third stage of practice, repeat the phrases you’ve settled on until you remember them. Feel free to take notes into the review, but you should not have to read every word when reviewing your employees, then things really won’t be sincere.
Once you have memorized your phrases and feel comfortable and confident saying them to your employees, the time has come. Start your reviews, you are ready. Good luck, we believe in you.

If you find that you may have glanced over something in training and need a refresher that your team can take on their own time, start building here.

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Customer Story: Riskalyze
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