By Ashley Stahl, Originally Published in Forbes

The end of the year is approaching and with it, your yearly performance review. If you find yourself squeamish and ready to get the process over with, maybe it wasn’t your best year. As a career coach, I tend to remind my clients that there is always a takeaway message, especially when it comes to receiving feedback. A study from Zenger and Folkman found that 92% of respondents agree that negative feedback, if delivered properly, is effective at improving performance.

Here are some ways in which you can get more from your performance review and some tips you can use to prepare yourself before knocking on your boss’s door.

Outline your successes. Before you walk into your review, it is always a good idea to map out your successes throughout the year so you have something to show for yourself. From these successes, you can determine if the work you’ve put in merits a bonus or overall salary increase. If you were given a big project over the course of a few months, detail the progress so your boss can see exactly where your hard efforts went. The same Zenger and Folkman study found that 69% of employees say they would work harder if their efforts were being better recognized, so now is the time to make those efforts known.
List what’s on your mind. If you find it difficult to communicate with your boss either because of anxiety or because of your workload, now is the time to bring up your questions, comments and concerns. Take a deep breath, speak up and discuss what makes you happy, how you’d like to grow within the company, what you’d prefer to work on, etc. These points will not only show your boss that you’re committed to your position, but also that you are striving to make the company better for both yourself and other employees.
Write a draft of your review. You may not enjoy the review process, and chances are, your boss isn’t too keen on reviewing each one of their employees either. suggests writing a draft of your review so that your boss can see what you’ve done, what your expectations are regarding your performance, and get a better idea of how you operate overall.
When prepared for correctly, end-of-the-year performance reviews can be both an excellent source of learning and communication for both you and your boss. You can gain some extremely valuable insight into exactly what your employer is expecting from you while simultaneously showcasing your accomplishments and commitments to your job. Use this as an opportunity to build your confidence, advance your career and start the next year off on the best foot possible.

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  • I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.