(Oringinally posted on 4/10/14 then updated on 4/18/14)
There is an old saying,
Advice. Wise men don’t need it and fools won’t heed it.
We all have times in our life that we want advice or feedback. But many times what starts out as a noble effort to help another out turns into an argument. Here are some things to remember about getting feedback.
1. DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. The most important part of both giving and receiving feedback is to leave out the personal comments. Don’t say, “Your website is bad because you are an idiot.” Or, “Your feedback on my site is incorrect because you are a loser.” This is potentially the most difficult thing about giving and receiving feedback: don’t get personal.
2. What is the feedback? Is it actionable or just “I don’t like it.”? Even if they say, “I love it,” can they say why they love it? Ask them to be specific. As long as it is actionable, then move to the next criteria.
3. Why is the person giving it? Are they trying to sell you something? Are they a friend? Do they want to get out of the questioning process as quickly as possible so they are likely to say it’s great to end the questioning? Do they dislike you? Will that be a motivator of bad feedback? As long as the feedback is actionable (see previous item), it should not matter if the like you or despise you. The feedback should stand on its own.
4. Try not to ask questions. Only ask if you really don’t understand what they are saying. If you are not very careful it comes off like arguing.
5. Do NOT argue with the person about the feedback. Remember that feedback is not a “debate” you are trying to “win”. It is a bit of information where one person tries to help another person out (many times for free).
6. Do not say, “But the person who made this has 100 years of experience in the industry.” It doesn’t matter who created the thing that you are getting feedback for. It just matters what the feedback is and should it be fixed.
7. Do not say, “Oh yeah? Well let me see your website! I bet that has problems too!” This does not matter. All that matters is the feedback itself.
8. You CAN say (if it is true), “You know, I believe I tried to implement that feedback and here is what happened (relate the story). Do you suppose that I did what you are suggesting or did I miss something?”
9. Remember that people who give you feedback are giving you’re their most precious asset, their time. Always be respectful of that in your dealings with them and you will get more and better feedback as time goes on.
10. Gratitude. Be thankful to the person regardless of the quality of the feedback or if you will use it. We have a suggestion at TIMEOC that if you get feedback that you use we ask you for a testimonial in return. No equity, commission, referral fee, etc. Just a thanks to the group that helped you out. It is a good guideline regardless of who gave you the feedback.
Good luck with your new tools for feedback!
And, of course, please feel free to give any feedback about this article below in the comments section. It will be appreciated.