Feedback, when not glowing, can be a tough pill to swallow. Unless … you know how to receive it like a pro.
Today I finished up a training series on presentations and PowerPoint for a client. It was a BIG day for them. After 20 hours of classroom learning and application, the tables turned and they became the presenters. Each person was given about a week to prepare a 10-minute presentation which would be evaluated by myself and their peers.
After each presentation we shared our thoughts openly. Overall, the feedback was well received by everyone … except for one person. Any constructive feedback was met with an explanation, justification, or effort to deflect. I suspect underneath the reaction was a lack of confidence. We all find ourselves in similar situations from time to time. Maybe it is feedback from a coworker about what they want you to do differently in meetings. Perhaps it is your boss meeting with you about your annual performance review. Or even a customer telling you what they think your company should do differently. Whatever the situation, we can all relate to the difficulty in receiving feedback and this is the reason I share this week’s tip with you.
- Hear, not just listen. Understand the intent and meaning in the feedback being shared.
- Remind yourself it isn’t personal. If it is personal, it isn’t feedback, it’s criticism and that’s a different story.
- Remind yourself it isn’t easy for the person giving feedback. This is especially true when the message isn’t all unicorns and butterflies.
- Be open. We cannot grow if we are not open to improving, so open your arms and take it in!
- Resist dismissing the feedback. Determine what is applicable and helpful.
Like all new skills, it will take some time to get good at receiving feedback and it can even sting. You know what else? You are human and some days it is going to be more difficult to hear the feedback openly, so for goodness sakes cut yourself some slack. If you know receiving feedback is a struggle on a given day, listen to the feedback, don’t respond, and then go away and reflect. Instead of giving in to the emotion that sometimes kicks in, wait until your rational brain is engaged (this will help you make sense of what you just heard). (See pages 5-8 of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 for more on how our brain works.)
So, the challenge is to go forth and receive feedback like a pro!