Once in a while, we all need a little help and asking for the right kind of feedback is one of those things.
What I often see clients and colleague get tripped up on is how to ask for what we need in a way that feels respectful, appreciative and clear.
How many times have you asked your client for feedback on your work or ideas and either heard nothing or you receive detailed and copious notes on every single letter on a page? The problem may not be with your client. The problem could be with you because you’ve not properly prepared yourself or your client for specifically what you’re looking for.
In today’s post, I’m going to be walking you through the exact steps I use when asking for (and receiving!) the exact feedback I need; either from a client, colleague, or mentor.
Let’s just imagine you’re a creative entrepreneur whose work requires feedback from your client before you can go to the next level of your process. Your first step in asking your client for feedback involves you deciding up front what exactly you want from your client.
The very first thing you need to do is decide how specific you want your feedback to be. Do you want them to pour over your work and let you know every spacing error? Are you looking for high level impressions? It’s important to be direct and clear in how you want your client to interact with your work. Take some time and come up with your ideas of what you’re looking for before you ask your client.
A couple of questions that might get you clear on what you’re looking for:
- What do I need to know from my client in order to take this to the next level in my process?
- What don’t I need to know from my client?
- What kind of details will help me move the agenda forward?
- What are some examples of details that can wait?
- What kind of feedback will serve the project?
- What kind of feedback will frustrate me?
- What kind of feedback will best position me to take it to the next level?
Here’s my process for asking for feedback from a client:
- In my initial client presentation, I always start with outlining the expected outcomes about our project or idea.
- I then make a CLEAR connection between what I’m providing and their original desired outcome.
- The third thing I do is ask for their feedback, being as specific and clear as possible and often giving them examples of what good feedback looks like and what kinds of things I do not need at this point in the process.
- I follow this with any relevant timelines, dates or additional information regarding when I need their feedback by in order to keep the project on schedule.
- I conclude with a genuine expression of appreciation for their project, naming specifically what I really like.
Here’s my process for asking for feedback from a colleague or mentor:
- In my initial reach out to my colleague or mentor, I always begin the conversation with a warm greeting and excitedly share what’s going on in my world and ask about theirs.
- I relate how the project/idea I’m looking for feedback on relates to their work.
- I make the ask for feedback as directly and specifically as I can.
- I include any relevant timelines, dates or additional information.
- I always include a “way out” clause that will allow them to feel safe to say “No” and/or for them to make a suggestion on what they might be willing to do instead.
- I conclude with a genuine expression of appreciation.