I’m often asked by friends and random people feedback on their ideas, pitch decks, projects and startups.
What constantly surprises me is how bad most people are at requesting feedback. I know because I’ve done it as well.
Most of the time the request for feedback comes in the form of a random email, with very little context.
Now, I don’t consider myself a very busy person, but still working in a startup, having side project and most importantly a wife and son, I usually don’t have 30m-1h to dedicate to each feedback request that comes my way. I can only imagine how much harder it can be for really busy people.
But there’s still a way to get feedback. During the years I think I’ve learnt how to ask for feedback and now get feedback from busy people all the time.
The key is, as usual, to make it the easiest possible for that specific person to provide their feedback.
If the person doesn’t know you, then say who you are, what you’ve done in the past, etc.
Why are you doing this? What do you want to achieve?
Is this a side project, a potential idea for a startup or have you been working on it full time for a year? This definitely changes the frame of discussion.
Ask for related, specific feedback.
If you end your email with: “Can you give me some feedback?” I can guarantee you won’t be get ting a ton of responses. Instead, you need to think about the strengths and skills of that person and ask for feedback on something specific, related to those skills.
If you do get a response, answer thanking for the feedback. If you disagree or think it doesn’t apply for a number of reasons, don’t try to defend your original idea but instead say you’ll keep it in mind and try to implement it. Then go ahead and do what you think is best.