When discussing an idea, a design, a decision, remember to say what you like.
There are always holes. There are always exceptions. There are always problems. Those are good to talk about too. Don’t hold back.
But remember to say what you like.
I was presenting something once and the idea was good. I got lots of detailed feedback that helped me make it better. But the whole time I had this nagging question — is there something to this? Is this worth exploring further? The team actually thought it was a good idea but unfortunately mind reading is not a skill of mine. I ended up deflated, wrongly.
They forgot to say what they liked.
Recently there was a similar meeting. I similarly got great feedback on how to improve the details. But somebody said something magical: “I’m really excited about this” and went on to share why. Now the feedback, instead of being deflating, felt productive.
They said what they liked.
There are some ideas that are just pretty terrible. We all have them from time to time. But sometimes deep within a terrible idea is a shiny nugget. When talking about an idea, find the nuggets first. Don’t throw out the dirt until you’ve mined it thoroughly.
Remember to say what you like.