Eliciting Quality Feedback

Feedback is important, there’s no doubt, but obtaining quality feedback that is honest and of use can be difficult.

After spending an evening with a person “oblivious to the social dynamics” of a situation, Ben Casnocha provides tips on obtaining honest feedback:

  • For feedback on specifics — such as your participation at a dinner or a piece of writing — […] proactively ask for it.
  • It’s harder to get feedback on more permanent personality traits or long-standing habits, so ask for “ideas” or, if appropriate, for feedback via the Nohari and Johari exercises.
  • If you give blunt feedback, you are actually less likely to get blunt feedback in return. The law of reciprocity does not apply.
  • Consider how close you are to a person who is providing feedback and how that will affect their response(s).

Penelope Trunk offers some more advice on receiving… advice:

  • Pay attention to your critics.
  • Realise that our problems are not unique.
  • Less experience often means better advice.
  • Be wary of people whose lives look perfect.
  • Stick with people who give you bad advice.

That first item from Trunk is identical to the one piece of ‘feedback advice’ that I’ve subscribed to since I heard it during Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture:

  • Listen to your critics. “When you’re screwing up and nobody’s saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up”.



3 responses to “Eliciting Quality Feedback”

  1. Best piece of advice on feedback bar none is even more simple than the tips above.

    Never ask the question, “What do YOU think about my. . ?”

    Ask, “What do you think PEOPLE/THEY think about my . . ?”

    This works. Too well.

  2. Yes–I wish I had added this in the post.

    I am trying to remember where I first read this piece of advice; bfchirpy.com, maybe (can’t find the post)?

  3. I seem to Tweet it at every available opportunity (at least three times). It’s my signature piece of advice (though I must have got it from somewhere).

    It sounds like the kind of thing that Tyler Cowen would post on Marginal Revolution. Which, interestingly, is how I think I found this blog.

    Neat. Too neat.