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How to prepare for your appraisal with very little preparation time!

I haven’t met one person in my time that enjoyed going to an appraisal, either as a manager or as an employee. Most people I know give it very little thought until the night before.  In all my years of training managers and advising staff generally, nothing has changed. It’s unfortunate, as it could be a really positive experience, but given the timing of appraisals in relation to bonuses, promotion and potential redundancies, it can always be a bit of a fraught experience and in some cases a bit of a shock. So, here are my top tips if you have left it to the last minute and about to go in as an employee….


  • Write your own objectives. Try and create six and make one of them a learning objective. If you write your own,  you are more likely to have your own objectives to work towards and at the very least it could adapt or modify  your managers ‘ objectives.


  • Make notes on the following prior to the appraisal meeting:
  1. Your successes (if you have any) and if not, your contribution to your teams’ successes. You need to sell yourself. This is important for your career, so don’t underplay it.
  2. Write down your strengths and what you do well. (You may need this as backup if your manager starts to go into a downward critique of your performance).
  3. Try and predict what your manager is going to  say about your performance and what they could be negative about. Think about your “defence” as to what went wrong, or why certain objectives couldn’t be achieved.
  4. If the previous objectives weren’t achieved, try and think of any learning points and how they can be avoided in future.
  5. If you know this is going to be a disastrous appraisal and potentially leading to performance review, then think about how your manager has managed you over the year and what they could have done differently to help you. When poor performance gets picked up first in an appraisal, that’s usually a sign of bad management with a “laissez faire”  hands off approach, so try and place some criticism back on your management.


  • If you want to keep your job in the firm, make sure you mention the following: You love your; job/company/ team/manager. Try and find something positive!
  • Try and be honest about the objectives being set. If they’re not achievable, say it, otherwise you face the possibility of not meeting them.
  • Be clear where you see your future going in the firm. If you want promotion, then tell them. It may change your manager’s perspective on how they see you, and your career.
  • One last point…always walk in with your notes…it makes you look prepared!!


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