After finishing the first draft of any project, it’s common to ask others for their suggestions. This can be as formal as a critique session or as informal as asking a trusted colleague to glance through your work. Receiving feedback is a great way to get an outside perspective — and see if your project reaches the intended audience.
So you send along your project, listen and take notes as others comment on your work and offer suggestions. But now what? How do you incorporate their suggestions to improve the final project?
- Pat yourself on the back for all the compliments and successes. It’s easy to fixate on what others thought was “wrong,” so make an effort to think about all that they thought was successful. Create a list of your writing strengths so you can build upon them in future projects.
- Revisit the project’s central goals. Now that you’ve received feedback from others, take some time to revisit your central goal. This is your objective — not writing something that will please everyone (which is impossible, by the way).
- Consider ALL suggestions. Analyze each and every suggestion through the lens of the central goal. Most comments and suggestions will be ideal for improving the project and helping reach the goal more effectively. Others, however, simply need to be adjusted to help achieve the central goal.
- Tackle simple improvements first. Incorporate small changes, such as changing titles, reordering content or improving the syntax.
- Determine which large suggestions you’ll incorporate. Many suggestions will go a long way to complete a stellar project. Take those suggestions and incorporate them as best as you can.
- Think of creative ways to carry out other suggestions. Not all of the feedback you receive will be appropriate or even applicable. In these cases, consider creative ways to pursue their idea. For example, if someone suggests that your presentation should include in-depth research on a specific topic — but this is not possible with the time constraints — consider creating a separate handout with the research to supplement the presentation.
- Show your final work to those who helped you — and remember to thank them. By giving you feedback, your colleagues invested their time and energy into your project. Show them that you value their help by sending along your final project with a note of thanks.
Remember that this is your project. As the writer, you are most aware of the goals and parameters. Take the time to incorporate suggestions while staying true to your goals and writing style.