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Giving Feedback Is A Superpower

Dec 24, 2023


The ability to give feedback that supports positive outcomes and allows for the preservation of relationships is a skill that should be regarded as a superpower. 

The challenge is that most people who request feedback ask the wrong people and in the wrong way. 

And most people who give feedback aren’t the ones who should, and then they offer what I call “fluffy feedback” anyway. 

It does no one any good and it’s a waste of time. 


How to Ask for Feedback


First, ask the right person. Seek someone who has the results you want or who has experienced something similar to what it is you want feedback on. 

There’s a big difference between opinions and good counsel. 

For example, don’t show your travel itinerary for Switzerland to your mom who's never left her hometown and ask for her insights and feedback. 

In business, don’t ask for feedback on your website from those who don’t have a great and effective website of their own. 

Don’t ask someone who has never published a book for publishing advice. 

Or, more commonly, don’t ask for relationship advice from someone that doesn’t experience healthy relationships. 

It just doesn’t work. 

What good will it do you to receive advice and opinions from people who don’t have the experience, perspective, or wisdom to help you? Those are just guesses and you can do that on your own. 

Poor advice and negative opinions kill dreams everyday. 

Protect yourself. 

Good feedback, or what Seth Godin calls, “generous feedback” will help you and your idea be better. You want (and need) perspective that will advance that mission. 

Choose your ‘who’ wisely. 


Be Specific


Once you identify who you’d like to ask for feedback, be specific in your request. Are you looking for typos and grammar issues? Or do you need someone to test the logic of your upcoming presentation? 

The more specific you can be about what you’re looking for, the easier it will be for your person to deliver feedback that will matter to you. 


How to Receive Feedback


This is the easiest part, if we let it be. 

But it’s also the hardest part, especially if we’re getting good, generous feedback. 

No matter what the feedback, a simple “thank you” is enough. I’m a big fan of enthusiasm, so realistically, I’d probably say something like, “thank you so much for taking the extra time to deliver such valuable feedback!” 

And that’s it. 

Just thank them for their time and energy. 

  • Don’t take it personally.
  • Don’t ever defend yourself. 
  • Don’t attack them. 

If you’d like some more information, it’s totally okay to ask some clarifying questions. 

Remember, this is just feedback from one person. You are not obligated to like it or use it. 

Incidentally, this process works for unsolicited feedback as well. Try it. 


How to Give Valuable Feedback


It’s a privilege to be asked for feedback on projects, situations, and ideas. That means someone trusts you enough to ask. I recommend you honor the opportunity. You’ll waste everyone’s time if you deliver fluffy feedback. There is a way to deliver feedback that preserves relationships and makes projects better.

Six Considerations Of Valuable Feedback:

1) Are you the right person? 

Be sure you’re the right person to ask for this feedback. Assess the value you bring to the conversation. This might mean checking your ego at the door. We all like to feel important and relevant, but if you’re not the right person to offer perspective in this situation, it is better to decline. If you happen to know the right person for the job, make an introduction. 

2) Do you have time and energy? 

If you are the right person for the job, don’t agree to take it on unless you can commit the time and energy to do it right. It’s far better to decline up front than to lead them on and end up delivering fluffy feedback later because you were too busy. 

3) How Will It Be Received?

 Always come from a place of love and support when you deliver feedback. Consider how your words will land. It is absolutely possible to be direct and kind. 

4) What Did You Like?  

Every situation, project, or idea, has some redeeming quality to showcase. Lead your feedback with what you liked. 

5) What Are Your Suggestions?

Give specific guidance and suggestions based on your own experience and perspective. 

6) Release it.

They may not take your advice or heed your feedback and that’s okay. Don’t take it personally. You’ve done your part.  As the saying goes, “it’s not your circus, not your monkeys.” 

Giving and receiving feedback is an important requirement for growth. Not having a feedback loop is how notaries can be notarizing for thirty years the wrong way and not even know it. It’s important to seek feedback and offer it in ways that support growth and connection. 


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