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How to Give Feedback: A Helpful Guide

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Why Participate In Giving Feedback In The First Place?


Learning to give feedback in a healthy, direct manner will lead to better applicants, better members, and an overall better vVv Gaming! Members spend the most time playing with, learning about, and having experiences with applicants. This means that, without input from our members there's simply no way for staff to know every nuance and quirk about an applicant, what they do well, how well they can build relationships, or how much they are an amazing fit for vVv. Staff cannot give applicants all of the useful feedback about how to become better gamers that our members can.

We need to create a culture of open and direct feedback. As our members grow more confident in their ability to share feedback, the overall applicant experience will improve. This also allows the community to drive the application process and have direct input into selecting future members.

Step 1: Evaluate Applicants, Don't Judge


The first step in providing valuable, actionable feedback is asking yourself are you EVALUATING or are you JUDGING?

  • Evaluating - examining the behaviors of an applicant and making note of how they affect your interactions and ability to build a relationship,
  • Judging - finding fault with the applicant as a person, usually because they do or approach things differently than you would.
Judgement usually comes from a place of insecurity, where we want to think that the way we do something is the right way and every other way is wrong. Judgement happens when we seek to validate that desire to be right by outwardly expressing that feeling in a way that is negative toward the person we disagree with.
  • To illustrate the difference, imagine there are a bunch of light sources lined up in a row. On one end you have the sun, then a spotlight, an incandescent bulb, and a candle at the other end.
    • If you were to evaluate these light sources you would notice that they provide light at different levels of intensity and illumination.
    • If you were judging them then you might say some are too bright and some are too dim.
We MUST be able to evaluate and not judge in order to create a culture of open and direct feedback. Feedback must be about how someone can improve and be successful, not why they are wrong or a bad person.

Step 2: Be Direct and Straightforward, Don't Water It Down


Nothing is more frustrating than when someone

  • leaves hints,
  • expects you to figure out what they want you to do (or not do),
  • ignores a situation without actually telling you what the issue is, or if there even is an issue,
  • blames you for something without giving a specific way to avoid the problem in the future.
The solution to this is being direct. Being direct means that you need to frame your feedback in such a way that you say exactly the thing that you want to say to the person. Being direct also means that you don't sit back and wait for things to sort themselves out. When you see a problem, or want to tell someone they have done something really awesome, you go to them and tell them. It's extremely important to be direct in a culture of open feedback. If everyone avoids conflict, drops hints, and gossips about each other, it creates a lot of drama that can be easily avoided with one or two simply-worded sentences, or a brief, private conversation. Being direct helps everyone improve and build better relationships.

Step 3: Organize Your Thoughts Before Starting to Give Feedback


Use a bulleted list to organize your feedback before posting it or talking to someone. This will help you remember the key points of feedback you want to give, help prevent you from getting too focused on any particular thing, and will make the feedback organized and easy to read.

As an example, let's say we have an applicant named Fred Fuchs. Fred Fuchs has been playing a lot with Sandy Fuchina. Over this time Sandy has noticed that Fred has a tendency to chew food with an open mic, doesn't respond to shot calling very well in game, and a tendency to use very sexist language on an occasional but repeating basis. Let's see how it should look:

"Hey Fred, I just wanted to drop by and leave some feedback in your app,

  • You chew with your mic open, which has grossed out myself and other members and makes us not want to be around you
  • You are not good at responding to calls in-game, which makes it frustrating to play with you sometimes
  • I generally like your personality and think you are fun to be around
  • Sometimes when you use derogatory language about women it makes me question how authentic your friendship toward me is
Another thing I want to point out as a benefit of using a list is that the language often changes, eliminating the necessary clauses and transitions required in writing full sentences and focusing your feedback into just the few key points that can be issued in a direct, concise way.

In Conclusion

As you can see, giving feedback doesn't have to be a scary or difficult thing! It's really all about:

1. Analyzing whether your feedback is toward a behavior and wanting to help someone succeed, or from a judgement and wanting them to be wrong

2. Being direct about what you observed and how it affected you or the community

3. Organizing this information in an easy-to-understand format

That's it! You are now equipped to go out and give feedback to all the applicants in vVv! Go out and do good.

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