How to Ask for the Right Kind of Feedback

I often get asked the question how do you ask for the right kind of feedback? Most likely you have heard the phrase, feedback is your friend.

I would agree, feedback is the one of the best ways to improve. However, the right kind of feedback can be a game changer.

The right kind of feedback can be the information you need to make your next crucial decision, course-correct or simply validate your thinking. Put simply, the right kind of feedback can determine the right next step.

So how do you ask for the right kind of feedback? First, begin with a question for yourself: Do you really want feedback? Being honest with yourself is critical prior to asking someone else to weigh in. Without the right mindset going into this process, it's easy to get defensive. Asking for feedback can be humbling, especially when you haven’t prepared yourself for the process.

When you are ready, here is an easy way to ASK

A: Allow others to see into your work.

Show them what’s behind the proverbial curtain. Be specific about the challenges you are facing. The more detail the better.

S: Seek council from truth tellers.

Be sure to pick people you know will offer you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. This is not the time to ask you mom, if she's like mine then she'll make you feel like there's no better idea or person on the planet. All kidding aside, pick people you trust that will offer real, constructive criticism. 

K: Keep quiet and listen.

This may be the most important principle to remember. Often times in our zeal and enthusiasm we over-explain and over-sell the idea that you're trying to get feedback on. It is super important to listen. One technique that can serve you well is to repeat back what someone is saying. For example: What I heard you say is that you believe this project will not work because of the following reasons…. The more questions you can ask and the more listening you can do the better feedback you will receive.

Feedback is your friend, so ask often, but make sure you ask the right way because the right kind of feedback can help you take the right next step.