Giving feedback isn’t always easy – especially when you’re sitting across from a team that has poured their love and energy into the project. I’ve had the luck of being both on the giving and receiving ends of the “client-agency” feedback session in the past and, I’ve learned some really effective ways that you can get the best out of the process with your creative team.
1. Prepare Yourself
Both mentally and emotionally. Being in a creative presentation can bring out both excitement and anxiety. Spend some time before you enter the boardroom to prepare yourself for the experience.
2. Take It In
Come along for the journey. Be open-minded and anticipate that you’re going to love it. Chances are, you’ve been envisioning the solution to the challenge you’re working on with your agency.
3. Time for Feedback – In a minute!
The moment you’ve been waiting for (or dreading)…”We’d love your feedback!”
The time has come to give feedback…or has it? This is actually a great time for a mini-break. Take a deep breath, refresh your coffee or just, ask for a quick pause. It’s okay!
We appreciate that you’ve just been presented with a concept that we’ve been working on for weeks, even months, in, what feels like, the blink of an eye. Take time to collect your thoughts for a minute!
4. Keep It High Level
At this point, your agency isn’t looking for a detailed list of potential changes to bring this through the finish line. Think along the lines of…
- Wow, I love where this is headed!
- I see how this took shape
- I feel like we may have missed the mark in hitting some of the objectives
Obviously, this level of feedback can come in many different ways. The goal is to provide productive feedback on a high-level using your initial reactions.
5. Walk Away for a Little Bit
Spend some time with the creative, re-visit the project goals and relive the presentation and reflect on what you were feeling. When you feel good about your decision let your agency know. It can look like this:
- Yes, let’s move to the next step (i.e. approved)…
- Love where it’s headed and would like to see a few modifications…
- I’m not comfortable with moving ahead with the presented concept because of…
6. Time for the details
If your direction is in the ‘B’ or ‘C’ category, this is where you’ll want to provide some further details on your feedback. Remember, you hired creative professionals for a reason. So, it may not be most effective to get into the micro-details of design but, rather, focus on how the concept needs to change to get closer to the objectives.
I have seen many clients take on the role of tag-in graphic designer at this stage. This is not where you add the most value to the process. Focus on clear communications and keep your eye on the end goal. I promise you, your creative team will be so grateful for the constructive, productive feedback and you will be that much closer to hitting the ‘approved’ button with a smile on your face!