Receiving feedback is never very easy, particularly when that feedback is negative. In fact, your initial reaction when it comes to receiving criticism is likely going to be defensive. Even when you know the feedback you are getting is entirely accurate, it can sometimes be difficult to accept it graciously and move on.
Learning how to rewire your reactions when it comes to receiving negative feedback is essential in learning how to use that feedback to your advantage. The first step to growing as a person is to learn where it is that you can improve. No one is perfect, and therefore nobody expects you to be.
1. Pick Your Audience
You are never going to satisfy or suit everyone. Focus your efforts on the people you actually want to please. If it’s a product or idea you are selling or pitching – who is your intended consumer? Design your content for them. If it’s a work project for a specific client – design your presentation towards what they want.
Sometimes in life it is important to recognize that your opinion or idea isn’t always going to best deliver your message. Listen to the feedback you are receiving and re-work your message to suit your audience’s needs. You need to know who you are trying to talk to, work for, satisfy, and so on. Deliver your message in a way the intended audience will understand while still staying true to your own intentions. You can still be yourself and please others too provided you use their feedback to determine how best you can satisfy their needs.
2. Learn to Listen and Evaluate
Negative feedback: it’s uncomfortable, it can be hurtful, and it can really do a number on your self-esteem. While in these times it may seem easy enough to just nod along and tune whatever the other party is saying; you need to remember that the opportunity to receive feedback, even if it is negative, is an important one!
You never want to send out the signal that you are
- Not open for feedback in the future.
- Entirely “uncoachable” all together.
Take in the feedback you have been given, and rather than react to it; I encourage you to process. Take the time to really pick it apart (not in an obsessive way) in order to determine the validity of the feedback.
- Was it something you already knew about yourself or your project?
- Have you received similar feedback in the past?
- How credible is the person giving you this feedback? (Maybe their opinion doesn’t really matter anyway).
Only by listening and really evaluating what the individual is trying to tell you can you really begin to process the response, and apply the necessary or recommended changes into your life.
3. Take a Hard Look In The Mirror
Mindfulness is integral to this process; knowing your behaviours, and recognizing where you can improve, and feedback is the perfect opportunity for you to reflect on just how mindful you are really being.
It is easy to blame other factors, people, and situations for why our work was received poorly, but that reaction is not helpful nor constructive in the long run. You are in control of your own life. Own it.
- Where can you be better?
- What can you do better?
Accept, but don’t dwell on what isn’t working and keep moving towards being better and doing better next time. Criticism can hurt, and that is okay. Remember, the difficult times in which we struggle are often the times that provide the most successes.