An NFL play-by-play broadcaster was contacted by a college student who had asked him to critique their work. The request was presented in a long-form email. The message said nothing personal to the veteran broadcaster. Instead, it detailed the student’s broadcasting career before wrapping up with a request for a critique. Attached was a 20-minute audio clip.
It is the only critique request to which this NFL broadcaster did not reply.
Recently, I wrote about Four Things You Can Do To Beat Your Competition. One of the four was to seek critiques. Asking for critiques, though, can be awkward, especially if you are approaching someone you don’t know. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about asking someone for a favor.
Here are six tips for requesting a critique of your work:
1. Use email
If you can’t ask for the critique in person, email is the best way to go – especially if you’re approaching someone you don’t know. It allows you to choose the perfect words and is unobtrusive. It also affords the recipient opportunity to consider their reply.
2. Target wisely
Be smart about who you target. Choose someone to whom you have a tie then tell them what that connection is. Maybe you attended the same university or you grew up listening to them.
3. Be brief
Again, the people you are targeting are likely quite busy. The shorter your email, the better the chance you will get a reply.
4. Respect their time
Indicate in your request that you know they are busy and that you understand they may not have time for your request. Tell them that any feedback would be appreciated, even if it takes a couple of months.
5. Don’t assume
Don’t send your audio with your initial email. It’s presumptive. Instead, ask if you can send a sample.
6. Keep the sample short
People assume you expect them to review the entirety of what you send to them. An 8-minute sample is usually sufficient for valuable feedback.