The Client’s Guide to Giving Good Feedback – Remember in college when you agonized over a major paper? You spent countless hours on it. Lost sleep. Wrote and rewrote and proofread and polished.
Remember what it felt like when it came back covered in red pen marks? Edits and revisions and annotations bleeding from its margins?
It was devastating. That paper was your baby. And all of those curt mark-ups felt like physical blows.
Now think about how you give feedback to your freelancers. If you’re not careful, you can easily deliver the same types of blows with your edits and suggestions—and doing so can hurt the client-freelancer relationship as well as the quality of future work.
So what’s the right way to give honest, helpful feedback? Here are some tips:
1. Remember the target audience’s preferences, not your own. View the work through the lens of your customers or potential customers, and check your own opinions at the door.
2. Recognize what’s working first. As simple as it sounds, leading with the good is the best way to start a collaborative, positive conversation around the work.
3. Seek understanding. Instead of saying, “I don’t like the background color,” try “Explain the thinking behind the background.” Who knows? Once you hear the explanation, you might decide you like it too.
4. State the problems, not the solutions. It’s perfectly reasonable to have issues that need to be addressed, but make sure you communicate what the issue is instead of simply giving a directive to change it. For example, if your issue is that the logo is getting buried at the bottom of an ad, explain that concern rather than simply asking the freelancer to make the logo bigger. Your freelancer may have a better solution to address the issue if he or she knows what the issue is in the first place.
5. Feel free to fall in love. As a client, you may feel pressured to come up with some sort of edit or revision every time you see new creative. But it’s perfectly okay to just love everything and have no changes. In fact, it’s a testament to how clearly you communicated the project and provided initial direction in the creative brief! What’s the worst feedback you’ve ever given or received? Sharing is caring!
What’s the worst feedback you’ve ever given or received? Sharing is caring!