IF YOU ARE GETTING FEEDBACK:
Select another workshop member to read the piece allowed.
Then you read it aloud. From that point on observe the rule of silence. Do not speak, defend or explain your writing.
Silence protects us from our natural tendency to be defensive and will help you use this as an opportunity to listen and learn.
Pretend you have a piece of masking tape over your mouth. Jot down all suggestions, no matter how crazy.
Write comments on the margins of your paper.
Remember you do NOT have to take any of this advice.
The piece is yours but keep an open mind.
This process enables you to hear and make decisions about what others think, BUT you are the final judge.
At the end of the feedback session thank the group and ask any questions you have or make a comment or two.
Again there is no need to defend explain or apologize for your work. However you may do this with your “air” time. However, I don’t recommend it.
IF YOU ARE GIVING FEEDBACK:
Listen actively. Do not space out during the workshop.
Be kind but candid. Nothing is gained through dishonest praise.
Start with specific positive comments then move on any confusions.
Write notes and sign your copy of their text so they will know who the feedback is from.
Always suggest improvements when you can instead of simply being negative.
No putdowns or sarcasm are allowed. If this rule is broken you will be asked to leave the workshop.
Use words that are non-judgmental; say things like, “I’m confused” not “this is a mess.”
Avoid Global Statements.
Even comments like, “this is perfect” or “I love this” are not helpful.
Be specific. Cite the particular line, image, metaphor, tone or theme that is perfect or isn’t working.
Do not ask questions of the person getting feedback; they must be silent. It makes their job nearly impossible.
Mark confusions with? In the margin take a few moments to reflect before you speak.
Long moments of silence while people are thinking quite common in a good workshop.
Tact, of course is important, but so is honesty.