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This is a simple article with a simple premise for giving better feedback:

When giving or responding to feedback, avoid using the word “I”.

This seems logical and rational, but it’s actually a real skill that needs to be developed in order to go beyond a personal opinion when giving feedback. Why? Because

Saying “I don’t like this” or “I think that” omits actionable feedback and makes it become a personal statement. Of course we can’t disagree with someone’s personal perspective: it’s theirs, and not wrong from where they’re sitting.

Removing “I” shifts the focus from the personal opinion and onto the rationale:

By removing “I” from your communication and focusing more on sharing rationale, your feedback becomes more concrete, more informative, and better suited for a collaborative context. Instead of saying “I think this layout won’t work,” you could say: “Consider how this will translate from portrait to landscape and how that change might affect the constraints.”

This is a skill I picked up from my painting teacher when I lived in Sweden. I sucked at painting but had a good grasp of aesthetic principles. Every lesson we would critique each others work and our teacher would push us to go beyond opinion and to focus on why. The result is rationale based feedback and actionable ideas. Things get better from this kind of feedback, where as opinion just wears you down.

Source: Why You Should Leave I Out of Feedback by Tanner Christensen

Image: Nice feedback system PC World by waldopepper CC-BY-NC

Category: post

Tags: learning, feedback, design, critque

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Tim Klapdor


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