Getting good at getting good feedback

In my last blog I talked about how to give good feedback. But, of course, feedback needs to work both ways. If you’re asking for feedback then you’re asking for someone’s considered opinion. Because of their experience, their knowledge or their skill you’re asking them for help. If you’re simply asking them to rubberstamp something you’re not really asking for feedback, and you’re not learning.

Here’s some things to consider when asking for feedback.

Ask at appropriate times

Your lack of planning is not my emergency. You’ve got to build feedback into your plans so that you have time to discuss and challenge any feedback given. Ask for feedback when there’s time. Ask for feedback on a plan, on a draft, not on a final deliverable.

Ask more than one person

Different people will have different experiences, skills and therefore different opinions. It is often worth getting more than one, especially if you need to challenge a HIPPO (HIghest Paid Person’s Opinion). But you need to be smart about who you ask and who you ultimately listen to. Someone’s who’s paid to write will give you better feedback on your content than your wife. An agency art director knows better than your amateur photographer husband. The best person to ask, is someone in your audience.

Ask for what you want

Be clear on what kind of feedback would be helpful to you right now. Do you want someone to check structure and tone of your writing? Do you just want them to check the spelling? Give them the context and the brief. Otherwise you might get feedback but simply don’t have the time or budget to act on it. You can do this by asking specific questions. “Do you think this is missing anything?” “Is there anything I can do in the next hour to improve this?” “Is this strategy right?”

Don’t take it personally

I’ve written a whole blog about this before: it can be hard but you can’t take the feedback personally. It’s work, it’s not you, it’s not your baby. It can be hard to put your time and effort into something and someone tell you it’s not perfect. But that’s the job, if it was easy anyone could do it. Feedback is a great opportunity for growth and development. Use it to improve your work.

Reflect

Are you often getting the same type of feedback? Is there something you’re consistently being asked to consider? It can be hard to spot the gaps in our own skills. Reflect on the feedback you are getting to consider what you can permanently improve in your work.

What are some other methods of getting good feedback? Let me know in the comments below.