If you want employees to hear the feedback you’re giving them, they have to understand what you’re saying, experts say. Too often managers have trouble speaking directly and will be vague about feedback, no matter the topic. As a result, employees often come away unsure of what actions need improving and what might happen if they don’t change.

Instead, make a list of the expectations you have for performance, and then identify how the employee’s actions did or didn’t meet those expectations.

“Provide very specific feedback — what happened, where, when and what outcomes to address,” says Cheryl Chester, organizational effectiveness practice leader at KardasLarson, an HR consulting firm.

This will help employees understand what’s expected of them. Be sure to give employees an opportunity to ask questions to ensure they understand, Chester adds.

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