While it’s no coincidence that feedback accounts for almost everything in the professional world. Be it a guitar composition or a space design or just a food recipe, it acts as a foundation for each. Also, it is the primary factor that helps a process come close to perfection.
Your skill at receiving feedback from your target audience will determine how successful, how long, and how fulfilling your career is. However, much of what we’d like to pretend doesn’t seem so. To help you need to gain expertise. Here are 7 tips for how to take feedback from your target audience in a way that will make you shine brighter,
Ask For The WHY
Your number one, A-priority job when your client asks you to make a change is to understand the reason for why behind it. If they want to try a different user experience in your prototype, then, of course, you can do that. It’s not a problem. But before you try to make any change. Ask for why they’d like you to have it. The best clients always understand that you need to be aware of why they’re asking you to amend the work. This helps you be more specific to solve the problem. The rest of them just tell you what they would like you to do for them.
As soon as you understand the underlying issue they are trying to convey. You get a chance to find a solution that keeps them happy & yourself content. But most importantly, this also allows you to preserve the integrity of your work & professionalism.
Be the Active Listener
We all would agree here. We have two ears and one mouth, so why do we make so much use of the mouth and so little use of our ears?
Actively listening to what someone is saying is tough at times. Our brains generally think at four times the speed we process speech. So very often when someone is speaking to us, we’re not actually listening to what that person is trying to convey. Instead, we’re thinking about what we’re going to say in response to the facts being presented.
If you can train yourself to slow down and actively listen to what your client is saying without prejudging the final delivery. You need to realise that where they’re heading the project, you’ll surprise yourself and them as well!
Become an active listener and soon after you’ll be able to hear the subtext of what they’re saying. You need to be a good listener & find meaning even if it is buried deep beneath opaque phrases like “brand substance”, “mandatory deliverables for the project”, etc.
Active listening is an important skill. Learn to master it.
Be Your Client Before They Arrive
You might have spent weeks trying to nail this one idea for the project. You stayed up all night preparing to pitch it to your client. You missed your best mate’s birthday because you were fine-tuning the final presentation. So far, this has all been about you. And that’s completely okay!
But in an hour or so before the client shows up. Take some time to put on their ill-chosen overpriced trainers, metaphorically speaking. Try to see the work from their point of view & their perspective. Think about their professional and personal agenda on a broad picture. You probably must have got a pretty good idea of what their concerns will be when they show up in a meeting. And if you have your answers ready before the questions are presented to you. You’ll be putting yourself at a very favourable advantage in front of your client. This would help you gain an edge over your competition.
Body Language You Carry
Sometimes, you need to put yourself on the other side of the table. Try being the “feedbacker,” giving the notes to a creative or notes to design team on their latest project. And you’d be surprised how many times this conversation can begin with the person you’re talking to sitting back with their arms crossed.
It’s only natural if you feel exposed over circumstances & vulnerable to display some negative body language. But it’s not going to do you any favours with Mr. or Ms Client. In fact, it could land you up in not getting that big project. So smile, nod, lean forward, and be open. Though be careful not to overdo this or you’ll come across as a demented weirdo of some sort.
Take Feedback Face-to-Face with The Most Experienced Person
When it comes to feedback, I’m afraid that Skype, email, conference calls, and the like can result in very bad, bad things. We are all sociable creatures who carry millennia experience in doing things face-to-face meetings.
So, try to get someone in a room with you and you’re much more likely to be able to win in a minute. If you have to spend your first 5 minutes of a conversation hopelessly repeating, “I can hear you right now. Can you hear me clearly?” the rest of your interaction is unlikely to go well and direct. Also, the person who will sign off on your project. He or she should be the one in the room telling you what they think about it. You need to work as hard as you can to make sure this is the case when you land up a project.
Always Agree to Make the Necessary Changes
This is a bit controversial one. Let me explain here what I mean. However daft the client’s suggestion is, you should agree to at least try it. But only once you’ve uncovered the issue they’re trying to resolve (check the tip #1).
By agreeing to try the change, you immediately take the heat out of the situation & from the head of your client. They feel reassured that you’re taking them seriously & any potentially adversarial mood dissipates right away.
If for once you understand their underlying concerns and you’ve shown them the respective solution. Then, you can use the positive mood of collaboration to show them your solution. And further, explain why referring back once again to the brief, yours is the more effective one. Plus, you will never know, their solution could be a spark of genius. And could also, help you learn a few ‘extra’ things about the industry.
Know the Difference Between a Blocking & Advisory Feedback
Let’s suppose that you’ve diligently followed all the steps above. But still, you’re cowering beneath a cascade of client notes. What to do then? Well, chances are that you’re going to need some time. Without the client around to try to take stock notes of it all. Before they leave the room. You must find out which is blocking and which one is advisory feedback.
In other words, decide which of their notes have to be acted upon for the project to be approved. And which they’d like you to try but are not essential with respect to the project. This will allow you to use the little remaining time you have to focus on the big stuff which carries impact. And chances are, once you’ve dealt with the big stuff, they won’t even remember the notes on the small issues. Lastly, you must ensure that you put in all your hard work & effort to get things right. Remember, the more efficiently you account your feedback, the more effective your project cycle would be.