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15 Best Things to Say During a Performance Review

15 Best Things to Say During a Performance Review

If this is one of your first performance reviews, you’re probably feeling pretty nervous about what to say in a performance review.

In this article, we will be taking a look at how to prepare for your performance review. You will learn how to combat the nervousness and what to say in a performance review.

Let’s have a look at some of the best threads of conversation for this situation.


What is a performance review?

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You may have heard the term before but might not quite understand exactly what it means. A big part of knowing what to say in a performance review comes from understanding what a performance review actually is.
A performance review is an appraisal or evaluation of an employee’s performance over a period of time. Typically after about six months or a year.
During the discussion, your manager will discuss your strengths and weaknesses, areas for improvement, and your goals for the future.

How to prepare for a performance review

Now that you know what it is, you can adequately prepare for your performance review with your boss.

01 Self-Evaluation

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For first-timers, the best way to prepare for a performance review is by doing a self-evaluation. Consider what your strengths and weaknesses are, and take the time to analyze any missteps you’ve made or notable achievements?
By doing a self-evaluation, you are mentally preparing for anything your boss can bring up. Take the time to formulate a strongaq response to every point you expect your manager to make.
Before your first review, you may also want to contact human resources to gather some information about the performance review process. Ask fellow employees what you should expect from a review.
This extra information will provide insight into your particular company’s performance review process, and if the review is related to a possible promotion.


02 Set goals for your future

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After your self-evaluation, it’s time to set goals for your future both in and outside of the company.
Many managers will ask what your goals are for the next year—or years—within the company, and it is beneficial to have an idea of what those goals are before the actual meeting.
Whether you are new to the job or have been at it for a few years, you should be keeping a work journal to note all your achievements.
This will provide you with valuable discussion points for the actual meeting, especially if you plan to ask for a raise.


03 Constructive criticism

During the talk, your boss may also ask you to give him/her some feedback. While you might think this is a blow-off question, you might be wrong.
Many managers are surprisingly open to constructive criticism. By offering feedback on areas which you believe can be improved, you have the opportunity to enhance your experience in the workplace for yourself and others.
So, take some time to think about areas your boss can improve on. But don’t forget to point out some of the management’s strengths, and give credit where it’s due.

What to say in a performance review

With thorough preparation, you should already have an idea of what is going to be addressed in the meeting. Arrive ready to take advantage of this opportunity to express your views.
Here are 15 tips for what to say in a performance review that will lead to a productive discussion.

01Your happiness
Employee happiness should be of concern to every boss because if his/her employees are miserable, they won’t perform well.
Take this opportunity to discuss your personal level of contentment, and even the general happiness level in the office. This is a great point of conversation as it can help both of you to figure out how to boost morale.


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02Your achievements
Bringing up your achievements during a performance review is important because it draws your boss’s attention to the big-picture impact of your work.
This line of discussion will make it clear just how much of an asset you are to the company and can improve your chances of getting a promotion.
Be sure to have verifiable proof of each success, or you may come off as pandering. This is especially true if your manager has many employees and can’t keep up with individual achievements.


03Underperformance, and how you plan to improve
If you have missed key deadlines or have underperformed in any area, your boss knows. This is a good—albeit often difficult—area to discuss.
Pair this chat with how you plan to improve on these weaknesses in the future. It will show your boss that you are aware of issues and are working toward bettering yourself as a professional.



04A raise
When your boss is lauding your efforts, your performance review is the perfect time to ask for a raise. Don’t, however, just blurt out the desire.
List your achievements, why you think you deserve a raise, and even your expenses to illustrate how greatly a raise would improve your quality of life.


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05The development of the company
Asking about the development of the company is an excellent line of questioning because it shows that you have an interest in its growth and that you are interested in how you fit into that growth.


Most performance reviews entail a discussion about the goals one hopes to accomplish during the period before the next performance review.
Your goals are a good thing to bring up because it shows that you are eager to progress and that you are willing to make adjustments to accomplish those goals.


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The performance review is not only about you. You should be prepared to give your manager a bit of feedback to let him/her know how you feel about the management’s performance.
Offering feedback provides you with the opportunity to improve your overall experience at work and improve the productivity of the company.


08Ask how you can help out more
Asking about how you can take on more responsibility is a good way to demonstrate that you are devoted to the company and willing to contribute to its development. This conversational thread can also spark a discussion about a raise.



09Suggest new tools and technology
If you feel like the tools and technology being used in your organization are outdated and inefficient, you should bring this up in your next performance review.
Recommendations for new tools and technology is often highly valued by managers because these resources can help make everyone’s job easier, thus boosting productivity.


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10Discuss your future
Aside from the company’s goals, you will want to prepare to discuss your own future with your boss. Especially if you don’t know what to say in a performance review.
This can include your one, five, and ten-year goals, such as owning a home or starting a family. These hopes are important to discuss.
They give your boss some insight into why you do what you do, and how dedicated you will be to the company through the coming years. 


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11New practices
If you find that specific company practices are inefficient or are holding the company back, you should discuss it during your performance review. After all, nothing will change if you don’t draw attention to it!


12What you want to work on
If there is a particular project you would like to work on, use this opportunity to discuss it with your boss.
The interest you show supports your personal involvement in the development of the company and will help you uncover new opportunities—if they exist.


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13Gaining additional skills
If you feel like you lack in the skills department, bring this up to your boss to show him/her that you plan to upgrade your skillset. You can suggest attending classes or workshops to prove your commitment.


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14Reiterate/revise your role
Even though you may have been employed for one thing, the scope of your employment may change.
You may find yourself taking on additional projects and duties that were not exactly a part of your job description. Asking your boss to reiterate/revise your role in the organization can even be grounds for a raise.


15A follow-up session
Sometimes, your manager does not get to really talk with you or other employees unless something bad happens, or during the performance review.
Schedule a follow-up session that will allow you to touch on topics you weren’t able to bring up during this meeting.




Now that you know how to prepare for, and what to say in a performance review, you will be ready for whatever your boss throws at you, and can drive a successful discussion.

Just remember, the purpose of this review is to improve how you do your job, not to drag you down. So don’t be so nervous!