I find that the worst way to discover if something I’ve done is any good, is to ask people if they think what I’ve done is any good.

If I ask people if they think something that I’ve put Blood, Sweat and Tears into is any good, they either:

  1. Tell me they don’t think it’s any good. Which means they don’t think it’s any good.
  2. Tell me they think it’s good. Which means that they either think it’s good, or they don’t.

The first answer is useful. Because I can then explore why they don’t think it’s any good. ¬†Then I can address the apparent shortcomings. Or not.

The second answer is not useful because I don’t really know if they are telling me their truth.

People sometimes say they like things so they don’t hurt your feelings. Or because they want to protect an existing relationship. Or because they can’t be arsed getting into a longer conversation about what they don’t think is any good; opting instead for a response allowing them too escape the conversation more quickly.

Fibbers

The second response doesn’t make people fibbers.

Well, not really.

It just makes them people.

Better

Anyhow, the way to get better answers is to ask better questions.

So asking people how something you’ve put Blood, Sweat and Tears into could be better – is better.

Answers are likely to hurt more in the here and now. But the feedback will hurt what you are trying to do far less in the future.

It also means we don’t make fibbers of people. Which can only be a good thing.

2 Comments

  1. The trick is not to ask closed questions – ones that can be answered with a yes or a no. Reframe the question so that it elicits an opinion, forces a comparison, etc. How or Why are usually interesting places to start.

    • Michael Owen

      Hello Shaughn and yes! Your’e right of course. Thank you again for commenting Shaughn. Your recent event sounded great, too. M

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