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Accepting feedback graciously

Anybody who puts effort into writing good content understands the anxiety that can come when someone else reads those words you worked so hard on.

In fiction or business, writers like to think they are using the best words to suit the need yet have to consider their audience’s tastes and preferences, too.

The old red pen editing style

Hearing feedback

Don’t think for a second that highly respected, top-selling authors don’t get their work reviewed and edited by other people – this is not just a business writing issue.

However, what can be different for any business writing is the range of feedback that may be required – one piece of writing may have to satisfy people from legal, marketing, administration, technical and sales teams.

Some people get uptight about feedback as they see it as criticism. Others hear it but rarely act on any of it, while others take note of all the feedback and lose their own feel for the writing.

How do you cope with feedback on your writing? Do you accept and even ask for feedback?

Getting feedback on technical details (for example a client tells me their product is 25 mm thick not 26mm as I wrote) can be easier to take than other feedback as you aren’t expected to be the technical expert.

Feedback about something you are meant to be good at is harder, but usually still isn’t meant personally and needs to be taken professionally.

Improving your writing

Gathering and assessing feedback is a key to getting the best results out of any writing.

Putting together all the different elements can be challenging but melding it together works mush better than having distinct bits of text from each area.

A good piece of business writing often is the collective wisdom of a team with the writer adjusting all those elements to read well. It isn’t about the writer producing perfect prose on their own.

Believing in the team effort and getting the best results for the business makes it much easier to accept feedback.

Once you can accept feedback and tweak your writing to suit, the better your writing will be and the less stressful you’ll find the corporate process.

8 Responses to Accepting feedback graciously

  • GaryG says:

    “Once you can accept feedback and tweak your writing to suit, the better your writing will be” — This is so true! Business writing, for the most part, is getting your message across while telling your audience what they want to hear and how they want to hear it.

  • PubD says:

    Generally, feedback from clients is simple — they want to change the tone, target it to a certain kind of business, or give it a call to action. That’s easy stuff to take.
    Feedback from random anonymous web surfers and ‘grammar nazis’ can be demoralizing. On the other hand, it helps that the anonymous criticism is almost always riddled with spelling errors.

    • tashword says:

      it helps that the anonymous criticism is almost always riddled with spelling errors.

      It takes some of the sting away when the critic makes errors, doesn’t it?!

      Often it just depends on how the criticism is presented, too.

  • vida_llevares says:

    I actually enjoy getting feedback on my writing. It is the only way I can learn, grow and enhance my writing. Without feedback, I may become complacent with my works.

  • darkmeiji says:

    I have received a lot of feedback in my writing and I just accept them and follow them since that is the only way I can improve. Although, I learned how to sift through the feedback because some editing made in my work are only due to preferences, while some are actually done to improve the quality. If it is only a matter of style or personal preference, I take note of it and try to adopt it when I submit again to a certain person. If there is something that I think is really wrong or will not work, I discuss it with the editor or feedback giver, depending on the situation. In my experiences, people listen and if it is really wrong, we change it. If not, then I follow the editing.

    I have also been in a position to give feedback to others and it helped me have the proper perspective of how a receiver of a feedback and a giver of a feedback feel.

    • tashword says:

      Filtering feedback is a useful skill I think. When I work on client projects that involve a few people (the legal team, sales team, technical experts, etc), it becomes important to understand each person’s objectives and accept feedback within context and use the client style to make final decisions on wording.

      Darkmeiji, that perspective probably makes you better at both roles, too.

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