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HOW TO WRITE A GREAT PERFORMANCE REVIEW

By Shaun Mendonsa, PhD

December 22, 2020

PERFORMANCE APPRIASALS

What we’ve been taught by HR on how to write our performance review comments and phrases, is wrong. The cliched comments we’ve been fed could be hurting us. They might make our job performance look good, but rarely outstanding.

UNFAIR PERFORMANCE RATINGS

Writing An Effective Performance Review

Our bold approach avoids standard performance review phrases. Step 1 uses two subconscious influence techniques. Step 2 uses persuasive writing techniques to frame your accomplishments as memorable.

Pre-Suasion Or The Frontloading Of Attention

USING WORDS THAT POSITIVELY LINK TO A DESIRED EMOTION

PSYCHOLINGUISTIC RESEARCH SHOWS THAT HUMAN SPEECH EVOLVED ONLY TO INFLUENCE OTHERS. AND NOT FOR EXPRESSING OUR THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS.

PRE-SUASION

1

Thus, when you use a word or a phrase that is positively linked to an emotion or behavior, it increases the odds that your reader will feel that emotion or undertake that behavior.

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HOW TO PRE-SUADE

“CREATING THE RIGHT EMOTION IN THE OPENING STATEMENTS”

Identify the key message you want to convey.

THEN WHEN THEY ENCOUNTER YOUR MESSAGE LATER,

Subtly, raise in their consciousness related concepts.

THEY WILL BE SUBCONSCIOUSLY PRIMED (PRE-SUASIVELY) TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO IT.

WORDS THAT PRE-SUADE

DESIRED MESSAGE/WORDS TO USE

Spark imagination

Deserving high rating

Get promoted

Get rewarded

Creativity, envision, dream

Worth, admirable

Elevated, raised, advanced

Prized, payoff, merit

Loss Aversion

RE-FRAMING YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS TO DOUBLE THEIR EFFECTIVENESS

IF YOU NEED TO CONVINCE YOUR SUPERVISOR FOR A HIGHER PERFORMANCE RATING FOR YOU, THEY ARE NOT CERTAIN YOU DESERVE IT.

"A STRONG MOTIVATOR FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE UNSURE, IS THE TENDENCY TO AVOID LOSSES."

This finding, called loss aversion, won Daniel Kahneman the 2002 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Read more in Kahneman's book, Thinking, Fast and Slow

People react twice as much to losing something, than if they had gained an equivalent amount.

USING LOSS AVERSION

LOSS AVERSION

2

Tweak a few of your key accomplishments in terms of what your company would have lost if it had not been for what you did for them. Let your company know what they will miss if they don’t promote you to the next level.

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PHRASES TO EMPHASIZE LOSS AVERSION

COMMON PHRASES/MORE PERSUASIVE

Saved $20,000 on project X

Got candidates to accept job offers

Completed projects ahead of schedule

Prevented company from losing $20,000

Ensured company did not lose top talent

Made sure time was not lost by completing projects

Persuasive Writing

80% OF EFFECTIVE WRITING CAN BE TAUGHT THROUGH A FEW IMPORTANT GUIDELINES. HERE ARE THE ONES THAT MATTER.

"USING COMPLEX LANGUAGE NEITHER MAKES YOU COME ACROSS AS INTELLIGENT, NOR IS IT PERSUASIVE. USE SIMPLE LANGUAGE THAT GETS YOUR POINT ACROSS."

WRITING TIPS

3

Use small, clear sentences. Present one point per sentence. Cognitive ease is provided to the reader through simple structuring. Drop unnecessary words. “My efforts were very much appreciated by the team,” reads better as “My efforts were appreciated by the team.”

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MAKE IT VISUAL

USE ACTIVE VOICE

USE PLAIN TALK THAT VISUALLY MAKES YOUR POINTS. FIFTH GRADER LANGUAGE AND IMAGINATION ARE ALL YOU NEED TO PLAY WITH.

TOP 5 PERFORMANCE REVIEW STRATEGIES

PRE-SUASION

EMOTION

LOSS AVERSION

PERSUASIVE WRITING

VISUALIZE

1

2

3

4

5

Additional Reading

SOME THINGS YOU CAN DO TO IMPROVE NEXT YEAR’S PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL

TALENT STACKS

HOW TO FAIL AT ALMOST EVERYTHING AND STILL WIN BIG: KIND OF THE STORY OF MY LIFE

BY SCOTT ADAMS

DRIVING CHANGE

SWITCH: HOW TO CHANGE THINGS WHEN CHANGE IS HARD

BY CHIP HEATH AND DAN HEATH

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