Offering Feedback To Establish Credibility
Posted Monday, September 6, 2004
As a web developer, and professional writer, I often come across errors made by others when I'm conducting endless hours of research. If I think I can offer truly useful advice, I've been known to send a note to the webmaster or author with the assumption that they may not be aware of their errors.
I do this with a true desire to help, and always use positive reinforcement as a means to demonstrate my desire to help, rather than criticize. Recently, I've seen a rash of desperate attempts by so-called "experts" offering their opinions under the guise of "advice".
What happens is, these people that consider themselves professional, send a mail to you that is rude, and in some cases, downright nasty. Their attempt to anger you to the point of responding is meant to open up the doorway of communication so they can send you further sales pitches as to how their service or product can help you.
Please. This is like a slap in the face, and an insult to my intelligence. These people obviously believe that I'm too stupid to see through their facade... and apparently, they believe the rumors about a red-head's temper! LOL
Now, don't get me wrong here... I know I'm not perfect, and I can take constructive criticism as well as the next guy or gal, but if you're going to send me insult after insult on a weekly basis, at least have the common courtesy to address your notes to me! It's not like I don't sign every mail with my name! I have a name, so USE IT. Otherwise, I'm not likely to either respond, OR give your notes any credence.
If you're going to accuse me of not being original, well then, maybe you should actually READ the issue you're criticizing. I include my original articles every single week! LOL I really wonder if this method of rude intrusion really works for these people? I sincerely doubt it. Oh... and another clue? Don't offer coaching to a Coach without recognizing the fact that they ARE a coach!
Here are some tips to providing useful feedback in such a way that you may actually help others, rather than simply get you on their "Ignore" e-mail filter list:
(*) Address your notes to the PERSON behind the site or product that you are offering feedback to. It's considered rude to just blatantly start talking about how YOU are better than them.
(*) If you are going to throw rocks, make sure your own house is NOT made out of glass. You want to pick on someone's spelling and belittle their intelligence? You'd better visit your own site first and go over it with a fine tooth comb! Especially make sure that the words you use in your own site's navigation are spelled correctly.
(*) Ensure that your feedback is taken seriously by first offering something positive about what you're critiquing. This proves to the reader that you really do have their best interest at heart, and that you're sole purpose is NOT to make them feel stupid. This will make your feedback seem truly helpful, rather than a personal attack.
(*) Make sure you're sending your feedback to the right person! Sometimes publishers will use guest articles, or articles written by experts in their field. When we do, we have to follow the author's guidelines, which usually include 'NO EDITING'. For instance, if I think the information included in an article is truly valuable, I will still use the article, whether it contains poor writing skills or not... it's the message that I'm concerned with sharing, NOT the authors English grade.
(*) Be honest about wanting to help. Nobody likes a complainer! If you know how to help, offer that help for free as a gesture of good will. Don't SAY you have all the answers, and make that person beg you for help... give an example of what improvements should be made. Prove you know HOW to improve their situation. Just saying you know how is a sure bet to your reader that you'll only turn around and try to sell them something!
Offering feedback can in fact be a great way to open up the lines of communication. Many great business relationships and joint ventures begin this way. Unfortunately, if you offer this feedback with threats and pompous, self centered gloating, you'll only sully the reputation you're working so hard to boost.
About The Author
Ginger Geracitano offers her experience as a Web Designer and Business & Marketing Coach through her weekly E-Zine, The Portal To Success. (http://theportaltosuccess.com) Subscribers receive tips, strategies, and her product reviews every Monday. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org