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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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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.

Are bad examples good?

Learn from mistakes

Theory has its place, but an example often makes learning something much easier. In many areas, an example of a mistake or poor quality is an even more effective teacher than examples of the correct technique.

Using examples to teach

For instance, I can tell you it is best to use the fewest words possible to give a message and to avoid repeating a word.

Or I can give an example: Leave as long as possible before proof reading your writing.

Or I can show you a bad example: Another effective way to increase the possibility of increasing your link building purposes… Then explain the issues with it and write it well: Another effective way of potentially increasing your incoming links…

Does it work for you?

Do you like seeing poor examples of something as a means of learning to avoid those same mistakes yourself?

I have put some bad writing examples in my blog (and the one above is a real example from a blog post I read) and always include one in my newsletter.

The bad examples I use are real but I never identify who wrote them – if you searched hard enough you might figure it out, but I respect that the writers didn’t mean to provide us with bad examples and use discretion 🙂

I think it is an effective way of showing how to write well – but do you find it useful? Would you like to see more bad examples I spot to help you improve your writing?

Negative feedback in your newsletter?

If you write a newsletter, or even a blog or magazine, and you include a feedback or testimonials section, do you censor them? You have more control over newsletter content and testimonials than over comments posted in your blog, but how do you best use that control?

If you get a lot of feedback, then it is likely you will only add some of it to your newsletter each time or it would be overwhelming for your readers.

However, if you generally add all feedback into your newsletter or present it in your blog, what do you do with negative feedback?

Negative feedback responses

feedback may be negative

Choosing how to deal with negative feedback

If the feedback is inappropriate, nasty or irrelevant (e.g. feedback from someone who isn’t even a customer or newsletter subscriber), delete it and forget it.

On the other hand, if it is constructive criticism (or at least true information, even if it isn’t presented constructively!) include it in your newsletter with your response – making sure your response shows how you are improving your service/product.

Including and responding to negative feedback (assuming it isn’t the majority of the feedback you publish!) builds trust in your readers as you are being honest – they will trust the positive feedback more, too. It also gives a balanced view to your newsletter.

You may find that the negative comments you include will be small issues that people can happily accept, so you can gain the above advantages without damaging your name at all.

Regardless of the content of the feedback, remember to thank people in your newsletter to encourage further comments and feedback – the more feedback you get, the more opportunity you have for improvement in your business. Feedback can also build a feeling of community and belonging amongst your readers.