Giving Clear Feedback

Ben Stapley

Problem: Giving feedback can be a murky experience. Especially if the project is subjective and involves creativity. It usually isn’t clear how important or weighted each piece of feedback has. This can cause confusion and frustration for the person giving and the person receiving the feedback.

Solution: Developing clear and consistent feedback language gets everybody on the same page. This allows us to produce better content faster.

Language: Below are our four types of feedback I’ve found to be helpful over the years. A lot of my interaction involves clients (the ones giving feedback) and creatives (the ones receiving the feedback) so I use those terms. That being said, this type of clear language is also beneficial to those outside of typical creative roles, so consider using it across your organization.

  • Praise – Something done well…duh. Often the client wants to correct the bad right away that they forget to celebrate the good. Do not forget to include this critical type of feedback. If you do, the creative will feel under appreciated and stop bringing their best work to the table.
  • Instruction – Something that needs to be corrected. When an instruction is given, the assumption is it’ll be executed. If a creative disagrees with an instruction, they should voice it. But if after voicing the instruction the client has not changed their mind, the creative should execute the instruction. In the end, the client makes the final call.
    • If a creative repeatedly struggles with receiving instructions, they may need to consider a different career path and work for themselves.
  • Suggestion – Something that could be corrected but doesn’t have to. When a suggestion is given, the creative makes the call about whether or not they want to execute it.
    • The client needs to have a balance of instructions and suggestions. If there are no suggestions, then the creative may feel their voice and unique touch is getting lost in the process which is highly discouraging.
  • Note – Something that can’t be corrected on this particular project, but it needs to be watched for down the road. An example would be, “You didn’t capture b-roll so this story isn’t visually engaging. Get b-roll next time.”

Conclusion: Check out this video to see this feedback language in action. If your teams need coaching with this type of language, or with other boundaries holding them back, let me know. I would love to partner with you to help them reach their next level. Visit for additional articles. Have yourself an awesome day.

About Ben Stapley

Executive Pastor
The Life Christian Church | West Orange, NJ

For over 20 years Ben has created & captured moving and memorable moments for individuals, non-profits & corporations across the globe. Some of the fields he has worked in include pastoringpreaching, speakingvideographyphotography, bloggingreporting & producing. He also consults for churches and speaks at conferences about leadership, communication and creativity.

Ben received a BA in Video Communication from MBI in Chicago. After graduating he worked in Toronto as a television producer for Context, a national news program. For a decade he designed compelling services at South Ridge Community Church as the Director of Programming & Media. In 2011 he received a MDiv from Missio Seminary in Philadelphia. For four years he worked at Liquid Church in NJ as the Creative Arts Pastor. For three years he worked at Christ Fellowship Miami on the executive team as the Experience Director overseeing worship, creative, production, online, communication & guest services.

Ben currently serves as the Executive Pastor at The Life Christian Church leading staff and volunteers to execute the vision and mission of the church. TLCC is located in West Orange, New Jersey and is known for its vibrant diversity.

Ben and his wife Rose enjoy life with their two lovely daughters, Violet & Scarlet in New Jersey.

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