Five (More) Points to Giving Your Writer Better Feedback

Five Points to Giving Your Writer Better Feedback

Following up on the last post, here are five more ways you can give your writer better feedback that helps them deliver exceptional work.

Keep Track of the Feedback You Are Giving

Unless you keep track of the feedback you are giving, you won’t know whether the work is getting progressively better. You can do this by keeping a feedback journal of what has been communicated and what has been implemented. Use a simple Word document or a note taking app like Evernote for this. Note down the feedback, then once communicated to the writer, jot down their feedback on your feedback and then after they have implemented the feedback go back and determine whether they met your feedback goals. This simple journal-keeping can also help you improve your requirements next time you hire a writer as you’ll know what pitfalls to look out for and what feedback is most effective and which isn’t.

Allow the Writer to Thwart Some of Your Feedback

Yes, some of your feedback may actually not be useful or practical so you’ll need to live with that. After communicating your feedback, allow room for your writer to counter that feedback with their own feedback. Also remember the writer may have more experience than you in terms of writing so they may have some deeper insights than you do. The important thing to keep in mind here is that not all feedback is usable, so be willing to dump your feedback if it’s determined that it cannot be used. An interesting side effect of this is that discussing your feedback with the writer could stimulate additional improvements that neither of you had thought about.

Feedback Is a Two-Way Street

Feedback is a dialogue, not a monologue, so be open for counter points from the writer when offering feedback. This a good thing because when information flows back and forth, greater understanding is developed and new synergies formed. When you do offer your feedback, try and elicit feedback from the writer as well. Let them know you are open to hear their thoughts on how to improve the work on hand. Keeping the feedback flowing in a positive loop is the best way to make progress on your writing project without any party feeling like they are just being carried along with no room for their voice to be heard.

Feedback Helps You and the Writer Both Now and in the Future

Think about this for a moment. As you send the writer feedback and journal this information, you are building a wiki of sorts of the sort of feedback that writers will typically respond to best. This can be extremely useful in your future projects as all you’ll need to do is recycle the feedback you’ve already used in the past, saving you time and effort. On the writer’s end, any constructive feedback you give them helps them polish up their skills even more. They can see areas that were previously blind spots and improve accordingly. When you look at feedback this way, it stops being an arduous task and becomes a knowledge management workflow that can fit in well with your overall business strategy. You can also think of it as an opportunity to help your writer become better at what they do.

Do a Postmortem of the Project

Once the project is complete, go back and do a postmortem of the project. What were the major challenges you faced during the project? What was the main issue you had to deal with with your writer? Did the feedback yield any insights on how to run your next project better? Is the writer someone you would hire again or should you start looking for another contractor? Doing all this immediately after the project will help you clearly dissect the project details while they are still fresh in your mind. Do also remember to provide your writer with exit feedback, as this will help them know how they did overall in the project. Although if this is the only feedback you will leave then it’s pointless because the writer no longer has an opportunity to do anything about it.

As a writer, I value feedback highly. I wish more clients would provide it as all the progress I have made as a writer has been as a direct or indirect result of the feedback clients have left me. It’s also true that clients who make the effort to provide feedback tend to be more committed and better clients than those who do not provide feedback.

Any thoughts?