The idea of putting work out there before being 100% happy with it is terrifying, but it needs to be done. Like anything learning how to ask for and accept feedback takes time. There is no silver bullet, but we hope these guidelines will help you start your journey.
- Don’t take feedback personally. Often creatives feel attacked when receiving negative feedback. Learn to embrace feedback, it might be painful at first but you’ll quickly see it’s value.
- Don’t get too attached to your work. We all get passionate about our work, but you need to learn to accept when something doesn’t work and iterate. The quicker you can iterate, the quicker you’ll see what doesn’t work and learn from your mistakes.
- Always give context. When you’re asking for feedback make sure you give as much context as possible. What are you trying to achieve? Who is it for? Help whoever is giving you feedback to understand the bigger picture so that they can provide helpful insights.
- Be specific. Tell people what you specifically want feedback on. You want to get as many actionable insights as you can. Start a conversation instead of encouraging comments like “Looks fresh!”. These comments might make you feel good, but they don’t help you improve what you’re creating.
- Make sure you understand the feedback. Sometimes feedback can be a bit ambiguous, it’s no-one’s fault. When this happens ask “Why?” and if you still don’t understand it. Ask again. You need those little golden nuggets of knowledge that will help you take your game to the next level.
Sometimes you’ve got to be cruel to be kind. Giving great actionable feedback is an art form, but it’s something you need to practice. It can be scary to give what you might consider harsh feedback, but sometimes it’s needed. There’s a fine line between being aggressively negative and giving useful actionable insights.
- Be clear. It’s important that everyone is on the same page after any feedback session, so communication is probably the most important aspect when giving feedback. Give examples that help explain your point. Don’t leave space for misinterpretation.
- It’s not about you. It’s important to give feedback that isn’t just your own subjective preferences. For instance, saying “I don’t like X or Y” doesn’t give any actionable insight. You’re one person, perhaps everyone else loves it. Frame it in a way that gives some deeper meaning. For instance, “I think X or Y could be a bit confusing for our less tech savvy audience.”.
- Share problems and insights, not just solutions. It’s okay to share your idea of how something could be better, but make sure you explain the problem as well as how your solution could be better. Start a conversation around the problem instead of taking creative control. Asking questions can really open up the process.
- Don’t walk on eggshells. At times it can be daunting to give negative feedback, but avoiding it doesn’t help anyone. Think carefully about how you phrase it, making sure to give as many actionable insights as possible. It might hurt a little at first, but it’s going to help the work and the creative in the long run.
- Be honest but respectful. Creatives should be used to receiving feedback. You shouldn't be hurting anyones feelings by being honest, but that doesn’t mean you should be rude. Creatives can feel pretty vulnerable when asking for feedback, so try not to make it personal. Keep it about the work, rather than the creative.