how to give, receive and ask for feedback

how to give, receive and ask for feedback

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How to give, receive and ask for feedback

Feedback can be a total killer. It can build you up and it can knock you down… but often it’s just completely and utterly counter-productive.


The two types of feedback 

It doesn’t matter what it is you are getting feedback for: your website design, your outfit or a talk. Whatever it is, there are still only two types of feedback.

Now this bit is really complicated, so you’d better be sitting down and really, really concentrating.

The two types of feedback are:

  1. Feedback that is useful
  2. Feedback that is not useful

And you’ve got your cool feedback and you’ve got your warm feedback.

Warm feedback and Cool feedback

So, what’s that then?

Warm feedback, whatever they might say to you, will get your heart racing – whether it’s positive or negative. Cool feedback will help you progress, improve and fine-tune what you’ve already done.

Warm feedback = Bad/Useless

Warm feedback is the one you don’t really want. It’s a comment like this:  ‘I liked that.’ Or, ‘I didn’t like that.’  Next to useless, when you come to think about it.

Warm feedback = Good/Useful

Cool feedback, on the other hand, is what you want. It sounds something like this: ‘I lost track in the middle of your talk. The rest of it was great though. However, I’d say that to keep me engaged right to the end next time, you should try doing it like this…’

Cool feedback will help you improve whatever it is you’re doing and ultimately help you to get a better result.

Unfortunately, giving cool feedback is hard and because it’s hard to give, it’s not very common!

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Who do you ask for feedback?

When it comes to who to ask for feedback, most people will go straight to their family and friends. This is natural, I suppose. Unfortunately, it’s also absolutely the worst thing that you can do!

You see, nice as they may be, your family and friends probably really aren’t that equipped to give you feedback. 

Chances are they’re not your target market either and they’ll probably just want to say something because they think it’s helpful. Or, even worse – something that they think you’ll want to hear. Pretty pointless really! So, if you want to receive some cool feedback, you really need to be asking somebody who you consider to be an expert in your industry, or someone who is actually in your target market.

So, what you do if some insidious (Big Word Klaxon!) swine gives you some warm feedback? Well, you smile, say thank you and move on…If you get bogged down in their negative warm feedback, it will crush you. And if you walk away, glowing in your own confidence, from their warm, positive feedback then you might miss a glaringly obvious error. Pride does come before a fall, as they say.

How do you ask for feedback?

This is one of the most important points – how do you actually ask for feedback?

The thing is, if you ask for it correctly, you’ll probably get given much better (and much more useful) feedback. Here’s an example: It isn’t rocket science. You could just try: Did that work?  This is a simple question that encourages and leaves people open to give you a more detailed answer. Often you’ll find that this brings out cool feedback. If it doesn’t and they just give you a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’ push them a little bit more with a ‘Why? Think about it – asking someone, ‘Does it work?’ isn’t confrontational. Asking, ‘Did I like it?’ is.  

And you don’t want to be confrontational. You just want to get better feedback and better results.

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