4 steps to becoming a feedback front-runner

August 24, 2016 by

I’ve been looking for a reason to visit the recently renovated School of Visual Concepts, and certainly didn’t think it would come as an opportunity to speak with young designers about leadership. But that’s exactly what I got to do last Friday at an AIGA Emerge event—part of a national campaign to strengthen offerings for emerging designers.

My message? Feedback is a muscle that needs building and you’d better head to the gym if you want to grow in your career. And while giving feedback is certainly as important as receiving it, the early phases of our careers are weighted towards the receiving end, so that’s where I focused.

1.  Make space to hear it

If you’re too caught up in your own emotional response, you’ll miss the chance to grow. Calm that inner ego for a moment and make the emotional space to take in what you’re hearing.

2.  Find the nugget in what you hear

Not all feedback is good, or well explained, but there’s almost always a nugget in there that will make your work stronger. Ask questions. Think it through.

3.  Scout a way forward

Don’t get stuck and figure out what’s next. A new concept? A revision? A different deliverable? We’re making work that has purpose. It’ll never happen if we’re stuck.

4.  Recommit to the new vision

Find something you care about in the new path give it your all—even if that inner ego you squashed in step one still has her hands on her hips.

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