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Lucio: As usual, some parts of my reply are based on my interpretation of very limited information, so some of it -or sometimes a large part of it- might not apply.
As long as you can consider the discordant information with antifragile ego and open mind, which I think you do, then you know better and you decide what applies and what doesn't.

The first part

As usual, some parts of my reply are based on my interpretation of very limited information, so some of it -or sometimes a large part of it- might not apply.

sounds like an excellent approach to give feedback.

It comes across as both power-protecting, face-saving and

"I may actually not have the full context. So don't blindly take my advice. Think about it"

This encourages people to think for themselves.

The second part

As long as you can consider the discordant information with antifragile ego and open mind, which I think you do, then you know better and you decide what applies and what doesn't.

encourages people to have an open mind with the power-protecting "which I think you do" rather than a forceful tone of

Be open-minded and take my feedback.

Then, finally, get the person to think for himself to make the final decision while achieving the power-protecting effect of letting the person decide on his own.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Thank you Matthew, and yes, great observations and "extrapolation" of general principles.

Maybe we could make a list of these techniques for effective feedback-giving.

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

In the recent thread on 17 Oct 2021,
Trainers VS Entertainers: don't get PU if you're looking for easy & fun (this guy hated it)
Lucio discusses the remarks of an unhappy customer and how to manage the interaction.

I'm thinking that there can be a few competing priorities whenever negative remarks are encountered:

  • Manage reputation & perceptions - public relations
  • Take the relevant constructive elements as constructive criticism & feedback
  • Take care of the relationship aspect - power-protect the remark-giver
  • Use the opportunity to showcase something (positive product, personality, story, etc)

I suppose what's the priority depends on the nature of the individual, content, tone, etc.

Lucio seems to balance the 4 priorities in that particular reply.

Feel free to share your thoughts.
Thank you for your time in advance!

Absolutely.

I made a note at the beginning that I was going to post the user's email verbatim, but was going to revisit my reply.

Well, I revised quite a bit in the end -as it made sense I should have-.
Even beyond the polishing, if you compared the two, you'd find the email was briefer, more personal and bridge-building. While the public one ended up being more "PR style", and PU-enhancing.

It's almost as if it took this complaint, and used it to showcase why PU is great for this other category of people, which also end up being the type of people most people wants to be (those who don't expect easy and quick to be revolutionary, those who are willing to put in the work, those who are on a serious path, those who focus on results rather than form, etc.)

Still there are also important overlapping interests that apply to both, such as:

  • Maintain your frame while seeking bridges (but bridges are higher prior in private email)
  • Make your point without entering too much into the complaint's frame (ie.: defending)
  • Make your point expanding on positives, not negatives (more important publicly)
  • Provide some evidence for your claims, without overdoing it (evidence is far more important publicly since convincing one user isn't worth the time, but it's important when many will read it)
Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

That helps a lot, thanks Lucio.

  • Provide some evidence for your claims, without overdoing it (evidence is far more important publicly since convincing one user isn't worth the time, but it's important when many will read it)

Making responses to negative remarks seem to have a different approach from conducting scientific studies.
For scientific studies, more evidence usually leads to better objective conclusions and comes across as more persuasive.
However, giving too much evidence in a disagreement comes across as over-investing and hence defensive.

Well, I revised quite a bit in the end -as it made sense I should have-.
Even beyond the polishing, if you compared the two, you'd find the email was briefer, more personal and bridge-building. While the public one ended up being more "PR style", and PU-enhancing.

I cannot view the original email reply.
Did you happen to edit the reply?
It could be my web browser or computer that's having issues.

One can probably say the maxim to be

Using the least amount of evidence needed to persuade someone

which is similar to the principle of

Going as slow as possible to win the race

I suppose there may be occasional situations where erring on slightly more evidence can help:

  • Rigorous scientific findings
  • Litigation court cases

Even then, it may be wise to hold back some evidence at first and slowly release each piece of evidence strategically.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hi Lucio,

This is in reference to the thread of whether Power University lessons should be longer or shorter.
And the thread on whether you wanted to move charts to the advanced section for social exchange concepts.

I noticed a pattern whenever you ask for feedback and I give feedback.
My intention is to bring it up so that I can give you the feedback you prefer, and, on my side, deliver the feedback efficiently.

I feel that sometimes when you ask for feedback, you have sort of already made up your mind.
So you are in decision-making mode.

In the past, we discussed making the context of feedback-asking more specific.
However, you advised me that keeping it generic allows more free-form feedback and perspectives.

As such, I may have misconstrued in certain cases that you would like a wide range of perspectives whenever you opened a thread for feedback.
So I am more in the brainstorming mode and take time to think of multiple ideas.

I felt that this was the case for the thread asking whether customers prefer short or long lessons.

I think discussing this would be good for both of us:

  • I start thinking in the right direction whenever you ask for feedback and I deliver the feedback in the right scope.
    I save time writing in the right scope.
  • You get the feedback that you are looking for

Though I see a potential downside to narrowing the scope of feedback.
Unexpected, good ideas may come from ad-hoc discussions.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Hey Matthew,

Yes you're right, in those two cases, it was a "downstream" type of feedback I was mostly interested in. In those cases going back to the brainstorming level is less effective -and can result in wasted time as you say-.
Maybe next time I can flag when I'm looking for feedback on a very specific topic.

I'm also thinking if this might be a case of either me not asking precisely, or if you might also have a tendency to enlarge the scope of the conversation. I don't have the answer, but worth considering on both sides maybe (both may be partially true).

Semi-Made Up Minds VS Open to All

And it's also true that my mind felt quite sure that the proposed solution was superior.

That being said, asking feedback still makes sense and giving feedback still makes sense (and is not wasted time) if one has strong reasons to disagree. If a truly compelling argument comes up, minds can change.

And that was the case for the advanced module.

Now I'm far less convinced the "advanced" section should be its own section.
And I'm considering your solution of doing an "advanced" section in the module -rather than in a separate module-.
Might end up being a mix of the two.
Maybe when "advanced" is practical, relevant, and relatively common, in the module.
When it only interests 10% of the users, of those who "want more", then put it in the advanced module.

So that was a case where a "semi-made up mind" changed its mind (for the better, I think).

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on October 26, 2021, 7:23 am

That being said, asking feedback still makes sense and giving feedback still makes sense (and is not wasted time) if one has strong reasons to disagree. If a truly compelling argument comes up, minds can change.

P.S.:

My bad BTW, I should have totally said that!

Not saying it unduly withheld credit and made it feel like the feedback was not that helpful -which instead it was-.

I guess sometimes it also takes some time to process things before the mind eventually changes (it's not always a on-off type of thing).

So thank you so much for that!

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Thank you for your thoughts and also for giving the credit for the feedback!

I'm not sure if I get 100% of what you say so wanted to share my thoughts further based on your replies.

I'm also thinking if this might be a case of either me not asking precisely, or if you might also have a tendency to enlarge the scope of the conversation. I don't have the answer, but worth considering on both sides maybe (both may be partially true).

I feel that enlarging the scope of the conversation is necessary.
Otherwise, I would only be agreeing and disagreeing with your thoughts in a linear manner.
Unless that's what you would like.

It's perfectly fine for me to follow the scope of the conversation.
It requires less time for me to think and draft responses.
The main downside would be not being able to express certain ideas.

As you have advised, ideas are often hit or miss and can be a chance game.
So whether new ideas are something to spend time on is something to consider.
With the appropriate constraints and boundaries, there would probably be more useful ideas popping up and faster evaluation of those ideas.
Maybe we find black swans like how venture capitalists hunt startups.

At the same time, as you have advised, sometimes you would like to make fast decisions being the business owner, executer and the person with the most context.
Also, you take on the costs and get the revenues.

More generally, I think that the upsides for a forum user to give feedback are

  • The chances of getting his/her preferences heard and potentially implemented
    The higher the openness to feedback, the higher the chances of the preference indicated via the feedback being taken into account & being implemented
  • Building goodwill with the person requesting feedback by delivering value and showing good intentions to help
  • Possibly learning something new if the conversation opens up

The costs and risks are

  • Time spent understanding the context, thinking of ideas and writing the feedback
  • Receiving unfavourable responses
  • Eroding goodwill if the feedback is value-taking for whatever reason

In my opinion, for a "downstream" feedback session, chances are that the upsides are much lower, and the risks are higher for the feedback giver.
The main thing is goodwill.
And taking the opposite stance would be even riskier.

Unless the feedback-asker gives credit for people taking the opposite stance to hear a different perspective.
So the feedback-asker helps to mitigate the risks and gives credit.

For sales & marketing decisions, forum users also have less incentive unless they are aiming to do business with you.
Not the case here as we were discussing the product where both parties have incentives for advocating their preferences.

Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on October 26, 2021, 7:23 am

That being said, asking feedback still makes sense and giving feedback still makes sense (and is not wasted time) if one has strong reasons to disagree. If a truly compelling argument comes up, minds can change.

P.S.:

My bad BTW, I should have totally said that!

Not saying it unduly withheld credit and made it feel like the feedback was not that helpful -which instead it was-.

I guess sometimes it also takes some time to process things before the mind eventually changes (it's not always a on-off type of thing).

So thank you so much for that!

I felt that you helped me to mitigate the risks and increased my upside by thanking me and sharing the risks of the feedback session.
So huge thanks for saying this and I appreciate this a lot!

Feel free to share your thoughts if you have a different perspective or share the same thoughts.
Thank you for your time in any case.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Yep, agree with you Matthew, a good view on "feedback power dynamics".

Matthew Whitewood has reacted to this post.
Matthew Whitewood
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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