Content collaboration is when you work with a team to develop a great piece of content, regardless of what kind of content that is. It can be a video, blog post, spreadsheet, slideshow– whatever your heart desires. Annotations are important not only because they allow us to mark our own thoughts and share them, but also because they allow us to gain from the diverse knowledge of other team members.
Take advantage of everything online content collaboration has to offer, without having to download extra software. It couldn’t be any easier, as long as you learn the skill and implement it into your routine as soon as possible. In this article, we’ll help you master annotating a document effectively, including:
- Why bother with feedback?
- How to take feedback and run with it
- How to offer feedback effectively
Motivate team members through feedback
Let’s be real, everyone loves a little affirmation here and there. If there’s no recognition or appreciation for your hard work, then why care? What’s in it for you? To be clear, feedback doesn’t include the typical “Looks great!” or the A+ everyone gave to their middle school partner while peer editing English essays. We’re talking about highlighting something the person has done remarkably well, sharing tips to improving strategies and yes, even some constructive criticism when needed.
Team members need to have a driving force that isn’t just reliant on the deadline. Just getting a project done for the sake of being done, does no one any good. I guarantee you’re a member of an exceptional team so take advantage of each person’s expertise. Benefit your team members by giving good feedback and vice versa!
Help your whole team grow by providing annotations the right way!
Take feedback like a champ
So you’ve spent a ton of time working on a project that you think you’ve nailed only to see a ton of comments or suggestions from a team member hours later. Whether the project is as big as a presentation or as small as a social media post, it can be hard deciding what to do. What now? Where do you start without feeling completely defeated? Here’s what you need to do:
1. Approach feedback with a clear mind
First things first, recognize that everyone has a different skill set with unique perspectives on boosting creativity– nothing’s personal. Each person on your team likely has a common goal. With that being said, it’s important to be open to suggestions from the get go in order to professionally respond to criticism of your work.
2. Choose one issue to focus on
Sometimes feedback can be very specific or detailed, causing you to feel overwhelmed. The best thing to do in this situation is to choose one issue or pattern you notice repeatedly coming up in the comments. This will help you pinpoint any habits you may have to better understand your work overall. Honing in on one issue can make your revision more targeted and less overwhelming. Once you’ve tackled that larger issue, you can go back and revise some of the smaller ones.
3. Ask questions
If you’re having a hard time understanding what your team wanted, then there’s no harm in asking for clarification. If you don’t think the feedback seems reasonable or if you don’t quite get the annotator’s perspective, ask questions. The key is how you do it. Respond graciously and thank them for their time and effort. It never hurts to be considerate!
Give in-depth feedback
You’ll thank yourself for offering honest and thorough feedback in the long run. No one likes finding out later that their work is less than impressive when team members have been given multiple opportunities to express this before performance reviews roll around. It seems easy to avoid at the time, yet nothing is more frustrating than not receiving constructive feedback when it’s needed. Luckily, sharing comments and annotations directly on files takes away the awkward face-to-face interactions.
1. Properly prepare
The worst thing you can do is offer drive-by feedback or a quick comment before running off to another meeting. Really take the time to think about the feedback you’re going to provide. Try your best to clarify your intentions and look for examples that help crystallize what you want them to take away from it. Identify patterns that you can point out to the person.
2. Ask them good questions
When you’re just about ready to dive into your feedback, ask them questions that start with “what” or “how”. For example, “How do you feel your workload is right now?” or “What’s been your main focus lately?” This opens up the door to hear their perspective without attacking them about their work, especially if you didn’t think it was too hot. These kinds of questions also deter a simple yes or no answer and can get your team members talking.
It’s never comfortable to be honest when your opinions may not be what the receiver wants to hear. The best part about giving feedback is that you’re making your team that much stronger.
When given the chance, never pass up on taking or offering feedback.
Master annotating or interpreting your own annotations to help your whole team succeed. Collaborating on shared documents will help you get the most out of your work. After all, teamwork makes the dream work, right?
This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own. Dropbox is not affiliated with nor endorses any other products or services mentioned.