You will soon pitch a project to what could become one of your major clients. You have been working on it for long hours, but you are still looking for ways to improve it. What do you do?

It is natural to ask your colleagues for feedback – and you are right to think this will help you to fine-tune your pitch. However, research shows that asking for “feedback” has rather low impact on our performance, as it is often vague and omits to point out what can be improved and how.

A study conducted by Harvard Business School suggests that framing feedback provision as advice provision may be the solution to a more constructive third-party input.

In this study, people who were asked to provide “advice” suggested 34% more areas of improvement and 56% more ways to improve than those who were asked for “feedback”. That is because people tend to offer more critical and actionable input when they are asked to provide advice, as they usually focus less on evaluating and judging other’s performance and more on possible future actions.

So, next time you want to improve your professional skills, ask for “advice” not “feedback”!

For more on this topic, read this article.

We are the sports practice of global advisory firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe. We provide strategy and communication advice for sports clients around the world. For more information: www.bcw-sport.com