How to effectively deal with negative feedback 

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

We all get negative feedback from time to time. It stings at first, but we can learn from it, and and it can help make us better.

For the most part, I’ve been hitting my stride sharing the message of authentic storytelling through the book, speaking, blogging, implementation and training. For the most part. Every once in a while a blog, training, speaking engagement doesn’t hit the spot with the audience – or at least with the audience members who chose to gave feedback.

Recommended reading:

Why speeches should be performances 

I remember my days as a journalist when editors heard from one person – out of tens of thousands – and sometimes even made decisions based on one complaint.

The first step when we receive negative feedback is to resist the urge to explain it away. It’s so easy to find excuses. Don’t.

I usually go through three stages:

  1. Feeling bad/being upset
  2. Evaluating what was shared and deciding if I agree, care and want to implement changes
  3. Learning and implementing changes as necessary

Sounds simple enough but it’s easy to get stuck in any of the three stages or not even get to them and get hung up making excuses.

But as they say, the show must go on, and life does go on. Implement things that seem valid. Disregard the rest.

Once, an audience member left a comment that said: “Worst presentation ever.” Not much you can learn from that.

Another once said: “Paced too much.” It was a large audience and I tried to look at them all, but I agree, I should have stayed in mostly one place.

Another person once said that my authentic storytelling talk had “not much new information.” Maybe they saw me speak before, in which case that could be true – though I customize all talks. If they didn’t see me talk before, it’s a good sign that my message could have been clearer. I can work on that.

As much as negative feedback can feel, well, negative, we can learn from it. We can improve the next time. It’s life. We learn (and get better) as we go.

(I appreciate feedback. Feel free to send me yours here.)