“To a committee approving creative”? What the heck does that mean? Here’s what that means: if you are a member of a team that is reviewing the work of a creative person — such as a writer or graphic designer — then this message is for you.

As a writer, I was asked recently, “How do you want to receive feedback from everyone on the committee?”

Here’s some ideas for how to provide that feedback…

1. The best thing would be for the committee to appoint a Chief Feedback Person. The CFP would be someone who the others trust to provide the right feedback. This person has judgement, style, smarts, and knowledge. (Tact is a plus.) The CFP can respond and the rest of the committee can do something else with their time. Or, if everyone on the committee really wants to weigh in, they can do that through the CFP.

2. Failing the election of a CFP, a large number of people will probably provide feedback. Here are some suggestions for that:
(a) Identify the single thing that you most love about the creative product.
(b) Identify the single most negative thing you dislike about the creative product. Do this in the form of a question. As the great advertising writer and creative thinker Mark Hillman says, creative people like solving problems more than they like receiving complaints. So, put your complaints into the form of a question. (“How can we solve this?” rather than: “This stinks.”)
(c) Identify any typos. Those just need to be fixed.

What we really want to avoid is having the writer get feedback that is directly conflicting. Such as when Louie says, “Make this blue.” and Louise says, “Make this [same thing] red.” To paraphrase Monty Python: That’s not guidance. That’s contradiction.

Above all, know when to say when. I once heard a lecture by the late poet Richard Hugo. He said, “Great poetry is never finished. It is simply abandoned.”