Giving feedback in a healthy way can be difficult. So, we've put together a few tips to help you do it right.

It’s helpful to remember that part of any creative process will most likely include revisions. It’s healthy to collaborate and work together as a team before the final product is complete and ready to share. And there are ways to help make this feedback loop helpful and productive.

Here are Fishhook’s top five suggestions for giving creative feedback.

Be Timely with Your Feedback

When you’re in the midst of a creative project, it’s important to share feedback in a timely manner. The closer you can stay to the original vision casting meeting and brainstorm, the easier it will be to keep the end goals in mind. So giving timely feedback so the process keeps moving is important.

If you need time to process, let the person know you are thinking and considering next steps and will get back to them soon and give them a timeline. Don’t go silent. Silence never helps move anything forward. Even if the feedback you need to give is hard, silence only makes it harder and slows down the process. 

Be Clear

When sharing feedback, share what is and is not working. Don’t try to “fix” it. Trust the creatives assigned to the project to carry forward the technicalities of what needs to be tweaked. When you are able to articulate what you are hoping to accomplish and what you are trying to communicate through the work, you’ll get a much better outcome to the creative project.

Communicating feedback about what you dislike is very important, just be kind and considerate of the person who put in the work. Consider how you might feel if someone critiqued your work. Being clear in your sharing is being kind. 

Confirm What You've Heard

It’s always a good idea to close the feedback loop. When receiving feedback, it’s always a good idea to recap what you just heard. Did you understand correctly? Is there anything that needs clarification? It’s always a good idea to restate the end goal so everyone is on the same page. 

The creative process takes time to ask questions and understand the desirable end goals and work through the feedback cycle, but when done well, the end product is so much better. And the more you do it in a healthy, constructive way, the easier it is to arrive at your creative goals.

Limit the Number of Voices in the Process

You know the saying — too many cooks spoil the soup. The same can be true for creative work. If your results are not hitting the mark or not hitting the deadline, one thing to look at is how many people are involved in the decision-making process around creative work.

As much as possible, we encourage you to empower creative leaders who can own the decision-making process for your creative projects so that your creative work doesn’t suffer the “death by committee” fate that often happens when too many people with too many ideas get involved.  

Know When It’s Time to Brainstorm or to Hone In 

Creative work is often a process which starts in the beginning with brainstorming all the possibilities for your project — a concept often known as diverging. This is a great time to get input and feedback from a variety of people and think up as many crazy, fun, wild ideas as you possibly can!

But eventually the brainstorming has to come to an end, so you can commit to an idea or two that get developed and refined into the final version — a counter action called converging. This is where having a very clear goal for the project is helpful — it’s your litmus test for narrowing down ideas to those that will be best for your project.

We think of this process of diverging and converging like a funnel — you start big and open, then gradually hone in on one solution.

If something feels off about your creative work, take a moment to consider — are we shutting down ideas too soon (converging too early) in the beginning of the project? Or do we need to do a better job narrowing down the possibilities (staying in diverge mode too long) when we’re nearing the end of a project or coming up on a deadline?

Be clear with your creative team (especially the decision makers) about when it’s time to brainstorm and when it’s time to hone in.

If you have any questions about creating a healthy feedback process, our team would love to chat with you or help coach you through it all.