Giving Feedback — If you were not delighted with your experience …

One of the posts that consistently generates traffic to this site is this one. It was written in response to a Seth Godin post on the art of Giving Feedback.

Now whether you are a giver or receiver, criticism can be hard to take. You can feel slighted, victimised, angry or insulted. Sometimes the blood rushes to your face, your hands or to your feet … criticism is one of those things that creates an emotional AND physical response.

BUT … it is not just the receiving of criticism that is difficult. Giving it can be challenging too. Even those in positions of power can be clumsy in delivering feedback … So, if you DO have to provide feedback, here are some tips:
1) Be honest but not brutal
2) Don’t embellish or change the message part way through
3) Do it earlier rather than later (don’t wait until things are very bad)

Oh, and on both sides … be gracious under pressure.

2 thoughts on “Giving Feedback — If you were not delighted with your experience …

  1. Gavin, I’d recommend a little different approach that’s rooted in great learning circles. It is this: “Criticism Does Much – Encouragement Does More.”
    I live by it and it changes others’ lives in ways that make a difference.

  2. Gavin,
    This is great advice. I do try to be honest, but also encouraging, but I can see that it’s so hard on the receiving end to take it constructively.
    You kind of need the other party to be open to the constructive feedback too and to not be overly sensitive.
    Yesterday there was this guy who emailed me (he just knew me through my blog) and he told me he and his friends had basically invested their life savings in this website development/service and he asked me to give him some honest feedback on what I thought.
    So, knowing there was a lot riding on this project, I went to his site, looked through it pretty carefully, and then, as objectively and kindly as I could pointed out some questions and possible solutions.
    Today he wrote me back and said “Thank you for your honest criticism” and he sounded so bummed. I was just like “Awww, it’s helpful feedback, not criticism!”
    So, I don’t know–it’s hard on both sides, as you say. It takes courage to ask for it, and it takes courage to be honest and give it too!

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