Common mistakes can kill your small business, but most of them can be easily corrected or avoided.
Today’s bad example: mis-using your service providers.
Dear Client: Saying, “I don’t like this,” is not feedback. Tell me WHY you don’t like it. I am a writer, not a mind reader. Love, Kristen –@KristenKing, via Twitter
If you’ve been on the receiving end of this situation, you know how frustrating it is. But it is absolutely human nature. We’re all probably guilty of it, especially when working with an area where we don’t excel. For a non-writer, finding the right words to explain what we want can be tough. For a non-designer, expressing your needs to a designer is hard.
But that’s why we hire experts to work with: they’re supposed to know what we want! Magically!
Kristen has already given us the starting point for a solution: If you don’t like something, tell why.
Overcome the fear of sounding dumb. The expert you’ve hired works with non-experts all the time. If they look down on your for your lack of knowledge in their specialty, replace them. Find someone you are comfortable talking to. And then do that: talk to them. Draw pictures, or find examples. Use any communication tools that work.
Do you have examples of mistakes?
I’d love to hear them, especially if you have ideas for solutions, too.
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Kim Fenolio says
Becky, these are some excellent points. Yesterday the main content provider and writer for my site came and told me that the way I wrote was condescending and that I shouldn’t do it. I was greatly confused because I didn’t feel that I wrote that way and I didn’t know where he would get that from. My solution for the lack of information was to step back and ask him what it was about what I said that came across that way. It happened that it was only a couple words in one sentence. Sentence tweaked, issue resolved.
Some people aren’t that great at communicating something that they’re unsure of. Our job, as the recipient of a criticism is to ask more questions until we have a better understanding. Even if we have to take the second step and contact someone who’s commented on our blog or talked about us in Twitter. :)
Solution for the person submitting the criticism would be to try and always say something constructive rather than simply critical. You don’t have to say how to improve it, but you can say what about it you aren’t too keen on.
Becky McCray says
Kim, thanks for great suggestions on both giving and receiving criticism. Excellent!