As a freelance hiring manager it can be tricky to give your creative staff critical feedback without confusing, overwhelming, or alienating your freelancers. In the creative sphere, where everything is more subjective, it is even more important that your freelancers understand exactly what you mean when you critique their work. Here are 4 tips for improving the feedback you give to optimize your effectiveness when guiding your creative staff.
Before getting to the heart of your critique, set the stage by repeating the intended context of the work and the purpose it will serve. This will not only inform the critiques that you are about to make, but can reveal hidden misunderstandings between you and your creative staff about the nature of the project.
When giving feedback to creative freelancers, be specific. Make sure you know exactly what you want to change and what the end result should be. This will streamline the editing process and allow for a more focused conversation. If you don’t know how to articulate what you want to say, bring examples of other works that succeed or fail at what you are trying to express. In some cases, your freelancer might know exactly what you mean and teach you a term or concept that you can use in future critiques. In a digital-first world, clear communication is an increasingly important soft skill.
Be Responsive and Respectful
Freelancers should be treated like part of the team and deserve the same time and respect as a full-time employee. When giving feedback, stay away from words that might come off as hurtful, but are also non-specific. Vague feedback is not only unclear, but can tend to alienate freelancers and make them feel like their work just isn’t understood. Even if a complete overhaul is necessary, be sure to provide clear creative guidance going forward and offer your time for future check-ins.
Set Clear Expectations
By setting clear parameters for what you want in the next draft or in the final product, your freelancer will be better able to meet your needs. You can make sure that your freelancer has a clear idea of what you want by making your critique into a rubric that they can refer back to. This should include an outline of your broader timeline so your staff knows how polished each draft should be and will help them keep track of where they are in the process. Make sure to offer suggestions and reiterate what you are looking for instead of just repeating the things you don’t like. By restating your goals after giving your feedback, you can keep your freelance team focused on moving forward and motivated to complete the project on time.
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