July 31, 2009 – I was reading an interesting article this morning about the importance of giving and receiving constructive feedback; the author was speaking specifically about tech innovations, but the larger truth still prevailed. In any business or industry it can be difficult to tell someone your honest opinion, even (and especially) when expressly asked for one.
Too often “softening the blow” causes us to completely water down the message we are trying to convey for the sole purpose of helping a friend or colleague improve upon what they are putting so much time and effort into. At We Do Web Content, we have a lot of experiece talking to clients about how they can improve their website, and it is usually the areas outside of our control (the design and usability vs. content) that create a lot of problems.
While you never want to be rude or mean when explaining to a client (or a potential client) that their website looks like it was designed in 1995 and is just as unusable, it’s unfair to both us and the client to make them believe that just adding SEO content will convert their visitors when presented with such a website.
Learn to Give and to Receive
Don’t be afraid to offer constructive criticism when someone is looking to you for honest advice about how to better their project or business. If you have information that could really help push that project to the next level, even if you ruffle a few feathers in the process, they’ll thank you later.
When receiving said criticism, don’t become personally offended if someone’s design tastes or website ideas are different from your own. While personal style should be reflected in a website, some people have terrible taste, it’s a fact of life, and perhaps your ideas just need some filtering to truly shine.
Criticism doesn’t have to be bad and without it, none of us would ever grow. When we learn to hear what offers are saying or learn to communicate our ideas effectively with others, everyone wins. Objectivity might not occur overnight, but you’ll get there.
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