How to ask for effective feedback

As writers, asking for feedback is an integral part of our work. As important as this is, how you ask for the feedback can make all the difference in whether or not the feedback would be useful.

It’s not enough to send a piece of document to someone and tell them, “I’d like your feedback on that”. Using this approach may result in receiving unhelpful feedback. While the person providing feedback may go through the document and give a general feedback, being specific about the kind of feedback you want will help them focus specific areas of the document, and help you get your desired result.

Basically, when it comes to asking for feedback, nothing beats being specific about what areas you’d like to get feedback on.

In this article, I share tips on how I’d to ask my team for feedback:

1. Be Specific

The first rule, for me, is to be specific about the kind of feedback I want. Being specific means asking questions like:

  • Is the document easy to follow?
  • What do you think about the introductory paragraph? Is it good enough to make people want to read the rest of the document?
  • Does it cover everything about the subject?
  • Is it usable?
  • Does it address the needs of the users?

These, and more, are examples of specific questions you can ask.

2. Ask the right person

Another important factor would be to ask the right person for feedback. If you’re writing a user guide, for example, it’s important to speak to everyone who has worked on that project such as Testers, Business Analysts, and Software Developers.

By involving these professionals, you’d be getting different perspectives, which can in turn improve the quality and usability of the document.

3. Use a feedback template

A template can come very handy as it helps all stakeholders understand what to focus on. When developing a Feedback Template, focus on the following:

  • Clarity – Is the document clear enough?
  • Usability – Is the document usable?
  • Completeness – Is the document complete?
  • Correctness – Is it technically correct?
  • Accuracy – is it accurate?
  • Understandability – is it understandable?

By using a template, you can receive helpful feedbacks about your documentation.

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