Tell people you’re not qualified

If someone asks for feedback, one of the #1 reasons why you want to ask them what type of feedback they’d like from you, is to ascertain if you feel qualified to give the feedback.

For example, if someone asks me to tell them what they think of a pie, and I probe a bit further, I might find out that they’d like tips on what they can improve. Turns out in this case, it would behoove me to remind them that I’m not a pastry chef and that I don’t feel comfortable evaluating, let alone providing recommendations.

If however, they simply want to know if I like the pie, that I can tell them. And knowing that’s what they want to know, I can remind them of my preferences for pies in general, to point out I may not be the best person to ask 🙂

If they simply want encouragement, well that’s definitely an area I can help out with, with feedback.

In all of these situations, knowing why someone wants feedback helps you understand the type of feedback they want and determine if you can give it.