Feedback is your friend –but what if it isn’t?
Here are 5 great ways to deal with negative feedback.
Feedback is your friend, right?
With proper and constructive feedback you’re given a great opportunity to improve your skills, hone in your talents, and expand your knowledge. Great! But have you also experienced that every now and then you get some feedback that feels unjustified? That instead of building you up, feels as if it is meant to tear you down? The type of feedback that makes you respond in a defensive -or worse- hostile way? How do you deal with that type of feedback, if you can call it that? Well, here is your answer: 5 ways on how to answer to feedback – that didn’t feel like (constructive) feedback at all.
Marisa Peer, founder of the Rapid Transformational Therapy method, has brilliant advice on how to deal with this type of feedback: how to make sure that you won’t let it in! Cause that is key: do not let it in. Easier said then done? Not really, here are 5 easy answers that you can use anytime it looks like you are unjustly criticized. And the more you use these answers, the better you feel equipped to deal with these type of conversations.
How to then?
5 ways to deal with negative feedback that ‘just doesn’t feel right’:
1) Just reply "thank you for that” or "thank you for sharing your opinion with me"=> that’s all, do not refer to the actual content, this is all you need to say. And continue the conversation by talking about something else.
2) Another way is to reply with: "Sorry, I didn't hear that right, could you repeat that slowly for me please?” => often people don't realize how hurtful or harsh their comments are until they hear themselves say it out loud. By asking for them to repeat it, they will often water down the message to the level of a simple comment instead of harsh negative (and often unjust) criticism.
3) When it feels particularly mean, you can ask: "Do you actually mean to hurt me with this comment?" => By inquiring for the intention behind those words, there is a fair chance that actually the only intention was to really help or protect you. If you can see the harsh words in that light, the meaning of it changes in your advantage. And you can continue your conversation on that level: “help me with what?”
4) For the times when you know that that remark was deliberately meant to hurt you, (so e.g. if the answer to your question 3 was “yes”), here is your standard response: "If you want to hurt me with this, I can tell you it isn’t working, because I won’t let it in" => after which you simply shrug, turn around and walk away. No need to spend any more energy on this.
5) And in the case that you get a lot of negative feedback from 1 person in particular, there is one specific answer you really want to use: "It is well known that critical people are actually very unhappy themselves. What's going on in your life right now?" => by asking this, you should be aware that you can really hit a nerve with that question for that person. Be prepared to listen, be non-judgmental. You’ll most likely find out that they are actually the person that needs help. Help that you are now able to give cause you’ve given them a chance to open up about it.
Try it, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised how good this works. Once you use these answers, these techniques, you’ll be able to handle any kind (or actually unkind) feedback with an ease you’ve never experienced before. What a relief!