One of the hardest things to do in business is to ask for feedback. It can be scary. When you've given a presentation, shared your knowledge, and asked for feedback, you're really opening yourself up to anything anyone wants to say to you. It’s a vulnerable place to be.
When seeking feedback, I like to ask specific questions. For example, after giving a presentation, I will often ask the audience to share what resonated most with them. This question helps me gauge how much of my message was understood and what the audience found to be important.
After I cook and serve a meal, I don’t ask, “Well, what did you think?” This approach usually results in a barrage of unfiltered and brutally honest opinions or no feedback at all. So instead I’ll ask something like, “Did you think the chicken dish I made tonight was satisfying and filling?” or, “How do you think the spices tasted in this dish?” Narrow down your line of question to receive more constructive and relevant feedback.
When you are asking for professional feedback, consider framing your questions like the ones presented below:
Once you’ve gathered feedback, you must take it in, process it, and absorb it. Make sure you are being intentional with your reactions. I like to tell people I am “thick-skinned” when receiving feedback because I can handle it. And, it’s ultimately up to me on whether or not I take action on their feedback. Most people that provide feedback are not ill-intentioned, rather they're wanting to share their feelings. If you are honestly trying to grow a target audience, you need to listen to feedback.
Now I want to share a formula for growth.
Feedback + Modification = Growth
Your growth opportunity begins after you have processed the feedback and considered what needs to change. When you start making small modifications or changes, you can start to see improvements.
Let’s go back to the cooking example. Perhaps someone gave you the feedback that they thought the dish was too salty and didn’t have enough garlic. The next time you make the dish consider adding a bit more garlic and a bit less salt. This modified dish can be served and feedback can once again be gathered. Maybe this time you ask, “How do you like the spices in this dish?” Hopefully, most people will come back with, “This is the perfect combination!” Because you were receptive to feedback and made changes, you are now a better cook.
Now let’s consider a professional example. I have a friend who told me that my videos were good, but she was not seeing the “real” me. I took her feedback and made changes. After these modifications, I have significantly grown my audience. Feedback + Modification = Growth
What I have learned: Asking for feedback is a brave first step in personal and professional growth. Making modifications will show growth outwardly.
Tania Farran is an educator, mom, business owner, and an author. Her blogs tell about balancing all of these things in life! Laugh or cry with her and maybe learn a thing or two.