Last year, I purchased
THE POCKET HOSE
after I saw it advertised on a television commercial staring Al Borland–you know, Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor’s sidekick.
I don’t want to dwell on the fact that I apparently have a SUCKER label slapped across my forehead. Instead, let me just stick to the facts of the story. No, that would take too long. Rather, let me end the suspense by sharing the review I posted on Amazon moments after I used my Pocket Hose for the first and only time:
(If you wish to see the entire review and the resulting comments, you can find them HERE)
3 Lessons about Feedback
1. Check your Motives.
Provide feedback as a means to be helpful, not as a backdoor to delivering insults, demonstrating control, or being an insufferable Know-It-All.
My motive in writing that review was to prevent people from wasting their money, experiencing disappointment, or having to return a product. And apparently, people appreciated my spirit of helpfulness. How do I know? 676 out of 709 said so. If you want to get a 95% “approval rate” for your feedback, deliver it with the right spirit.
2. Check your Style.
The Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to the church in Ephesus some wise words related to how we should strive to provide feedback–
“Speak the truth in love,” Paul wrote.
You might be the smartest person in the room, but if how you speak the truth prevents people from hearing it, absorbing it, and applying it, you’d be better off saying nothing.
In order to make my feedback more palatable, I use humor to get my point across, a little coating to make the pill easy to swallow. You don’t have to be a natural born yuckster. Just don’t speak the truth with hate, impatience, condescension, arrogance, etc.
Be mindful that your goal in delivering feedback is to be helpful, and when you Speak the truth in love, your style makes others want to learn from you.
3. Check your — User Profile?
Okay, so this is a little embarrassing. That review I wrote? Turns out, I didn’t actually write it logged in to Amazon as Scott Carbonara. I wrote it under my wife’s profile.
And that, I swear on a pile of Pocket Hoses, was COMPLETELY AN ACCIDENT! As the water still dripped off my scalp, I wrote that review in haste, not noticing that I was signed in as Jocelyn G., whose reviews are now being tracked by multiple Amazon customers!
What does User Profile have to do with feedback? Too often feedback starts with something like, “Look, I’m just going to tell you what everyone else is thinking, but few have the courage to say.”
Feedback that starts like that will not likely be kind, accurate, or representative. Grab some safety goggles, because when that axe starts to grind, some shrapnel is going to fill the air.
When you offer feedback, use your own User Profile. If you want to have credibility or demonstrate any level of real courage, speak for yourself only. When you have something to say, say it. Say it as yourself. Own it. Don’t bring up other people, or claim that you speak for the masses.
Do you want others to seek your guidance and actually be drawn closer to you? Do you want to engage them instead of repel them? Before you open you mouth (or browser) to provide feedback, check your motives, check your words, and check that you speak for yourself.