Use This One Simple Phrase To Gather Valuable Feedback
Whenever we create or improve an idea or project, it's wise to gather feedback for improvement. Unfortunately, there are many ways to gather feedback and the intent behind the project has a large influence on what type of feedback is most helpful. It is also highly challenging to garner feedback from clients and team members who have a heavy workload. So, implementing a focused and effective form of asking is something I've toyed around with over the last few years. I wanted the best question to get to the root of what I need to move the project forward. I ended up with the following phrase.
Pretty simple, but it's also highly effective. In fact, I'm so well known using it among those around me, I've received a few jokes and expect some memes in the near future. The good thing is many others have adopted the phrasing on their project feedback solicitations.
Phrasing it this way is better than to say, can we make it better? This alternative option implies a yes or no response and lacks a thoughtful one. I choose to assume anything I create is improvable and I also intend to provoke the respondent to think of ideas for improvement. This is why I start with how. How cultivates a problem-solving mindset (similar to how we can effectively evoke questions from an audience). Assuming I'll get a response also puts a tension on the respondent to answer, although it doesn't always work without additional prodding.
So, the next time you submit an idea or project review, end your message with, "how can we make it better?".
- Make Things Better by Seth Godin