How to Give Feedback Without Offending Anyone

Kanye West really doesn’t know how to give proper feedback. [Check this video here for more info]. Here are three tips to stop you from  having a “Kanye-moment”:

Don’t Hate, Appreciate!

Before you start criticizing a proposal, remember that people have worked very hard on the idea that you are just about to rip apart. If you immediately start off with criticism, then you will be met with a lot of defensiveness. Instead, start off by appreciating and acknowledging something that you like.

Say at least two nice things. Every proposal (or person) has at least two nice things that you can praise. At the very least, you can appreciate the positive motives and efforts of the person (“John, thanks very much for working so hard to help launch this new product to the market…“) When you start off with praise, you set up an atmosphere where your “points for improvement” are more likely to be accepted.

Don’t Criticize, Analyze!

Criticism such as “This is one of the worst proposals I’ve ever read in my life…” and “I just don’t think that this just isn’t going to work!” don’t help because they are opinions that don’t provide any analysis. If you simply give your opinion (“No, this isn’t a good colour”) and stop there, then you’ve offered no valuable suggestion. If you’ve offered no valuable suggestion, then you haven’t really given any feedback. All you’ve done is tear someone’s self-esteem apart.

Instead, what you should do is to provide analysis to help the other person see why you’ve reached the conclusion that you have (“We tried something similar last year, and unfortunately the market response was less than unenthusiastic because…”).

State it in Positives.

Your words matter! Instead of showing the negatives (“You didn’t do this…and you also forgot this!”), you can increase your persuasiveness if you state your requests in positive language (“One way you can improve this is to add…also, if you can…”).

Akash Karia

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