We all have times when we want feedback on something we’re working on. Sure, we’re independent entrepreneurs but we all like to know what others think before we go too far down a rabbit hole or discover too late that what we’re working on isn’t going to fly.
This is one of the best things about Facebook and especially Facebook Groups, where contacts share their opinions and where you can get feedback pretty quickly.
I see lots of people asking for help throughout any given day and I’ve noticed some common mistakes made. We’ve all tripped over at least one of these. Which ones keep you from getting and benefiting from great feedback?
- Posting a question you can google the answer to and not explaining why you’re asking. If you don’t want to weed through reviews on Yelp or you want to hear opinions from people you trust (and studies show that the opinion of total strangers are trusted more than advertisements or brand claims). But if it’s a google-able question you’re posting you run the risk of being ignored by people and coming across as unsophisticated or worse – lazy.
- Posting in a group whose members aren’t a good fit for what you want to know. Either they don’t resemble those you want to reach or they’re trying to reach clients different from your market or they’re style is completely different. I asked for feedback in a group full of people who are very salesy. That was a mistake because I’m not and neither are my clients so I wasted my time and the time of those who responded to my question.
- Not explaining what you want people to focus on. Ask a general question like “will you review my sales page” and you run the risk of getting feedback on things you didn’t want and people end up wasting their time. If you’re sharing draft logos you’re choosing between explain what it’s for, how it will be used, and who the target market is. When I review things like a book’s cover, outline, or marketing strategy I need to know who the ideal reader is, what the book’s primary objective is, and who is the primary audience. The context can change a lot about how someone views something.
- Asking for a very fast turnaround on something that takes longer than a minute or two. I had an acquaintance on Facebook who would often ask for feedback on things like a guest blog post, a proposal, or other important document and she’d need a response in an hour or less. I know great opportunities sometimes come up suddenly and I can appreciate you want an extra pair of eyes to look at something important like a proposal; but it’s unlikely someone is going to drop everything to review your multi-page document. And if they do, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to give you the thoughtful opinion they otherwise would have.
- Not being grateful. Don’t just “like” their answer. At least publicly thank the person. But even better is to practice good karma and do something to repay that person. A testimonial they can use on their website or a LinkedIn recommendation if you’re connected there would be nice. Maybe do a quick Facebook Live video and sing the person’s praises. It takes 30 seconds but means a lot to someone.
- Asking for a favor that’s just too big and out of alignment with your overall relationship. I had someone ask me to buy her 10$ book, read it over the weekend, and “leave a great review on Amazon”. I’m sorry, but even if I had time to read your book over the weekend and even if it was truly great I’m not paying $10 to do it. Send complimentary PDFs to people you want reviews from and ask them to leave a review when they can.
- Wanting applause rather than honest feedback. I’m in a lot of groups on Facebook. People might share a lot of creative work — book covers, sales pages, a draft of their logo, and more. Often I see responses to their request that are very thoughtful and full of good advice (this is one of the biggest reasons I love Facebook). But then I’ve seen the poster respond in a way that comes across as defensive, using words that seem very harsh or even snarky. I’ve even seen people argue with the responders. This not only guarantees you won’t get help again but it can lead to you being tossed out of the group.
- Allowing the feedback to confuse your or take you off course. Now, the whole point of getting feedback is to include outside perspectives and to help you see things you otherwise wouldn’t or point out things you haven’t considered. But feedback and opinions are like noses – everyone has one. And if you have any sort of self-doubt issues, you can get caught up in bouncing from opinion to opinion and never moving forward.
Before you ask for feedback or for people’s opinions about something you’re working on get clear about what you’re asking for, why you’re asking, who you’re asking, and what you’ll do with the opinions you get.
Ultimately you’re responsible for the results you get and being courageous means cultivating the ability to ask for and receive feedback, while having the confidence that you know enough and are good enough already to achieve your goals.