Why I love feedback but hate feedback forms?

I have a question. No, I don’t need you to give me an answer but just answer it to yourself.

When was the last time you gave generous feedback on a feedback form? If your answer is recently or always or even sometime ago, you are rare and a minority.

The problem is feedback forms are not designed to demonstrate generosity. Generosity, where we take time and effort to help someone improve.

I am particularly talking about feedback forms that are taken after a workshop, seminar or speech. What do you achieve by knowing you got 10 /10 or 7/10 or 5/10. There is no dialogue, no conversation just a number that leads to nothing.

Then why do we have the feedback forms?

There is a reason. If there is no feedback form, the person responsible for organising the training, workshop or seminar has no way to prove that it was successful. But success proven with random number that we quickly tick on because we want get back to our emails is not a demonstration of success or failure in any way.

The numbers on feedback forms often remind me of what  Zig Ziglar said “You can be a meaningful specific or a wandering generality”


Those numbers ticked in a hurry are a wandering generality that lead to nothing at all. They are no different to the likes we get on social media. My question always is, if you got 10/10 by 10 participants in the room, so what? Do you know why they gave you a 10? You may think some comments reflect that. The comments are often written like engaging, expert etc but I want to know which part was engaging? Which bit made you feel I am an expert.

In absence of any other metrics to prove worth, what we do is get some random numbers. Numbers are crutches to save our butt but rarely meaningful.

So, I do not like feedback forms and rely on conversations instead. Conversations give me insights that matter.

How about you?

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