Sunday, June 09, 2013

How to give Good Feedback

"It’s hard to get motivated, and impossible to stay motivated, when you aren’t sure if you are on the right track."

There comes a time in one's life where we are asked to give feedback. Or maybe we weren't asked, directly, but feel like it'd be constructive and necessary to give our opinion on a product or work. This is especially true online where everyone with a connection and a keyboard becomes a critic. I took the liberty of compiling a few tips to help make the internet a better feedback zone.

1. Don't comment on the author, just the work.

This is the most important thing to keep in mind. Even if you don't follow any other guideline, please follow this one. Remember that giving feedback isn't telling someone they suck (or that they rock), it's commenting on the work (a video, picture, post, etc). It's pointing out where it does well and where it does wrong. It's not pointing the flaws with the author. 

2. Be specific.

No one likes vague feedback. "Yeah it was neat, but could have been better." While it may be easy and fast to write it helps no one and likely feeds the author's insecurities about the piece. Try instead to point out something you liked, "I loved the use of color," and what needs to improve, "but the green and the blue blend too much with each other and don't give enough contrast". It's still fast, still easy, and a bit more helpful.

3. Sandwich the negatives with positives.

Good feedback is like a hamburger. The meat of the feedback is, of course, pointing out where it can improve. Like a hamburger, it doesn't feel right for the author to receive a bland, dry, patty, even though it's the reason we eat hamburgers. So, bun that meaty critique in fluffy praise! It helps the author -and- makes them feel like a champ, what's not to love?

These are my three guidelines for amazing feedback, guidelines which I try to keep in mind whenever I'm in a position to give it. For more on giving good critique, see +Janessa Hall's post at the Writer's Discussion Group.