Inspiration is a delicate state. It can make time fly by when you’re on fire with a strong vision for your project or it can be quickly de-railed with the wrong feedback.
In general, art is VERY subjective. EVERYONE has an opinion and everyone has a DIFFERENT opinion. Most people WANT to feel helpful and when given the opportunity they feel *most* helpful if they are “challenging you” in someway.
Many of us open our work up for discussion, feedback and critique; oftentimes the result can be disappointing or discouraging. The results of bad feedback might cause us to quit a project, give up on an idea or even abandon a dream. Bad input may even cause us to conform our creativity in a direction less than authentic to our true self. Getting constructive feedback can be an important part of the creative process, but, it should help not hurt. Here are a few tips to get helpful feedback from others that supports your original vision.
1 - Make It Timely
Before you begin the project, decide WHEN it will helpful in the process to have the feedback of others. Also, make sure there’s time in your schedule to revise your work (or the work of others) after the feedback is received. For example: You may prefer feedback in the initial brainstorming phase, or almost near completion of the project, or both. Decide this ahead of time so that you can prepare.
2 - Thoughtfully Select Your People
Getting all your friends, family, and strangers opinions is NOT helpful. More opinions is not better! Think about your project specifically and think of 3-5 people that can bring value to the topic of your project in some way. Maybe they’ve had some experience with your creative medium, maybe they’re your target demographic or maybe they know you personally and your project needs to be a reflection of YOU! For example: If I'm launching a brand new fashion line for teen girls, I'm not going to ask my 30-something year old husband (sorry Brian)…I’m going to ask my friend’s teen daughter for her thoughts and feedback.
3 - Ask Specific Questions
What are your goals associated with this project? What type of feedback are you looking to receive to push your project to the next level? Make a list of very specific questions to get the answers that are helpful for you. Example: “what words come to mind when you look at this”? As opposed to: “what do you think?”
Now, it's your turn....What do you need helpful feedback on? OR... what is your expertise where you could offer your feedback to someone else? Let's allow THIS to be a space where we can all help each other out. You don't have to figure this out alone! Leave a comment below.
Promise Tangeman is the Owner and Creative Director of golivehq.co. She's also the Co-Founder of DesignerVaca.com.