The other day I was toying with the idea of starting a flower business by creating a website where you could buy flowers for a random person in need.
I’d work with the flower companies to make it affordable. People could buy flowers for individuals in need of love. And I’d be helping bring smiles to hundreds of individuals. Greatest idea ever.
While doing my research I sent an email over to my boy Sean Platt who worked in the flower industry for many years. I just knew he would love my idea and all would be merry. Eh.. not so fast.
Long story short, Sean gave me some honest feedback.
The jury had decided: My idea sucked.
Whether or not I could have made the business model work is beside the point. What struck me was at how honest Sean was. Instead of lying to me and saying that it would all work out, he was frank and up front.
His reaction to my idea most certainly bruised my ego, but in the end he saved me hundreds of hours of hard work. [For the record I love Sean, and he wasn’t overly harsh.]
In today’s society honest feedback is frowned upon. Criticism is almost always countered with the “haters gonna hate” mantra. And while I too admit there are plenty of negative nancy’s of the world, I sincerely believe criticism has it’s place.
Criticism helps us grow. Coddling does not.
So how can you give more honest feedback in your every day life?
Be errr.. honest.
If someone asks you for advice or your opinion be straight forward with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s your mom, spouse, or best friend.
Be up front.
It’s not always easy giving it straight, but in the long run your friends and family will respect you more for being honest.
Before giving advice ask yourself “Is this what I really think?” Don’t settle for anything less.
Realize You’re Helping Someone Grow
If you’re honest, feelings will get hurt. You’re not always going to agree with your friends and family. You have your opinion and they have theirs.
That said, it’s not easy hurting someone you love, but in the long run you’re helping the person grow.
If a person trusts you enough to value your opinion they want the real thing not advice from someone who is holding back.
By being honest, Sean helped me see plenty of holes in my business plan and made me consider my idea from an entirely different perspective.
By giving honest feedback you challenge your friends and family to be at their best. Being overly nice does no one any good.
Support But Don’t Baby
There’s a fine line between being honest and just being a jerk. Offer suggestions and critiques but don’t ram the person into the ground.
Be firm in what you say but don’t be afraid to offer support. If your friend asks how their blog is and it’s boring suggest five ways they can make it better. If you think they shouldn’t date the crazy girl next door suggest in looking elsewhere.
Don’t just criticize because you can. You want the person to be better off after they hear you out not worse.
It’s Only Advice
By giving your feedback you’re only giving your point of view. That may or may not help the person in need.
In my case I could have easily ignored what Sean had to say. But in the end after I realized many of his points were valid and so I acted accordingly.
Ultimately your opinion shouldn’t have too much sway either way. If your friends business idea rests on what you have to say they won’t succeed anyways.
As I said earlier, it’s often difficult to give honest feedback but in the end it’s best for everyone involved.
The world needs more honest feedback. Do what you can to help. 🙂
Note: If you would like me to give some honest feedback on a project or something you’re working on feel you know where to reach me. You have been warned. 😉