Asking for feedback is a skill, just like the skills you practiced when you did the work. Developing a strong practice of requesting detailed feedback can give you a wide range of benefits ranging from an increased comfort when your work doesn’t quite meet the mark on an early draft to sparking more in-depth collaboration and teamwork on future projects!
Try out the tips below for some easy ways to make feedback work best for you.
Plan Your Needs Take time to identify 3-5 places in your work where you are looking for feedback. What elements of your work do you need an extra eye on? Is there a technique you tried that you’re not sure about? Ask your reviewer to look at that specifically. Not only will asking these questions help get you better feedback in the short term, they’re a great way to help your reviewer understand and help with the ideas and processes that made your work possible.
Here are two easy places to start:
How finished is the piece—“Give this a final read before I send it out” is a very different kind of review from “This is an idea I’ve been working on.”
Trying to get better at writing a call to action? Ask your reviewer “What seemed like the logical next step after you read this?”
Could You Clarify? Follow-up is vital to transforming feedback to an improved project. One of the best ways to start a practice of following-up on feedback is to ask clarifying questions. Asking a good clarifying question is much easier than it sounds.
Start out by looking over the list of topics you requested feedback on. Are there any aspects you wanted feedback about but didn’t get?
When you got feedback, were there any places you didn’t understand the advice you were given? Use this time to ask your reviewer to explain or give more detail.
If your reviewer gave feedback based on a misunderstanding of something in the project, ask questions to understand how your reviewer came to that misunderstanding. Important: This is a time to understand your work, not attack their thought process.
No matter what your questions are, make sure to orient them around open-ended questions. These questions focus on “how” and “why” more than on “what” or “where.” If something didn’t work, asking “Why didn’t this work?” invites an explanation and will bring up what elements didn’t work or where the project missed the mark. Starting with those what and where questions limits the answers ahead of time.