How to Improve Your Reception of Feedback From Others

Feedback from the wrong person can leave you feeling down rather than help to lift you up.

Getting feedback from others is a very important part of life. Feedback from a boss, mentor, loved one, partner, or co-worker lets us know how we’re doing and progressing. Feedback can also provide us with insight into our work and abilities, putting a person on the right path towards success.

But feedback isn’t always positive. In fact, sometimes, feedback can be downright disheartening, zapping our energy. If you want to get better feedback, you may need to focus on the questions you ask. Here are some tips:

1. Clarify 

Consider this: You submit a piece for a client that you are excited about; you think the piece is great! A week later, however, you hear that the client has rejected the piece, with a note about how they just “didn’t like it.” You feel bummed. Rather than attempting to do the whole thing over again with no direction and no clue as to what the problem was, ask for clarification! Without specificity, there is no way to know which direction to move forward.

2. Ask the Right People for Feedback

Do you have a sister who is always critiquing your wardrobe choices? Maybe don’t ask her how your new dress (that you love) looks on you. Is there a certain co-worker in your office who is always nitpicking your syntax or word choices? Maybe don’t ask them to edit your report. Instead, ask people for feedback who you trust to give you fair, honest and critical–but not unkind–responses that help you to improve.

How do you respond when you get negative feedback? Are there people in your life that you trust for feedback more than others?

3. Assume you don’t know exactly what they mean

Rather than filling in the blanks they left out. Everyone leaves out details in conversations with those close to them. It’s kinda like a secret code, but the challenge is the code can break or shift and then both parties aren’t speaking the same code. Ask for clarification in a kind hearted way. Something like “I need to understand this more thoroughly and…”

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