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Last Updated on September 7, 2017

7 Ways To Give Great Feedback

7 Ways To Give Great Feedback

Sharing an opinion, especially a negative one, can be challenging. When your friend asks you to give them feedback or clearly needs some feedback on something you’re suddenly in a position where you have to share a lot of opinions, often negative ones. Make sure you know how to deliver criticism thoughtfully, efficiently, and respectfully. You can give good feedback by doing these seven things:

1. Do it early

Don’t wait until it’s too late to give feedback. The sooner you can tell someone that something they’re doing needs work, the more time your friend has to improve at it. Don’t wait until your friend is almost done with their thousand-page novel to tell them that it’s not worth pursuing. Don’t wait for a person to make a big mistake to tell them that they’re on a dangerous path. It can be uncomfortable to deliver criticism, but if you wait too long it could become too late.

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2. Avoid shaming

Sometimes (or a lot of the time) what you’re giving feedback on, whether it be a piece of work or a behavior, sucks. In fact, if they asked you for the feedback they probably did it so that they could hear someone else confirm what they already think: that it sucks. But absolutely do not tell them that it sucks. Be honest with your criticism but also be gracious. The last thing you should do is make your friend regret asking your opinion.

3. Focus on behavior

Adverbs are your friend. Instead of telling someone they are bad at what they’re asking feedback on, tell them what they can do to be better. You’re not critiquing them, you’re critiquing something they did.

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4. Stay on your side of the net

If you review a book, you’re not the writer. If you give feedback on a drawing, you’re not the artist. If you’re critiquing someone’s attitude, you aren’t that person. Remember to stand your ground when you’re giving a review but not to cross any boundaries either. Bad criticism is telling people to write like you’d write, draw what you’d draw, act exactly like you act, etc. You might think you know the right way to do something, but remember that everything is subjective. You want to bring out the best out in them, not make them more like you.

5. Be generous

Universal negativity is not good feedback. Would you value the opinion of someone who thought everything you did was terrible? No, because a critique needs balance. Even if it’s difficult, find something you appreciate amidst the dreck. It’s very helpful to end your review with a compliment or two so that you are closing on a positive note.

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6. Speak to the person’s interests

Deliver your critique the way it will be best absorbed. Sounds obvious, but too many people treat the critique as if they’re giving it for themselves. Make interesting comparisons that are relevant to the reviewee. Compare the positive attributes of what you’re critiquing to something he likes, and compare the negative aspects to things that he also thinks negatively of. If your friend loves Michael Bay movies, it won’t help to say that his script suffers the same problems as the Transformers movies. If they idolize a negative influence, don’t tell them that they’re becoming more like that person. Phrase your argument with consideration for your audience.

7. Practice

With practice comes improvement. Even if you follow the six previous tips, you will continue to grow as a reviewer as you give more feedback. That’s how it works. Giving great feedback is a fine art that can’t just be distilled into six easy steps. As you practice more you will learn when you should say something and when you should shut your trap. Over time, it gets easier.

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Featured photo credit: dsa66503 via flickr.com

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Matt OKeefe

Freelance Writer, Marketer

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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