5 ways to better receive feedback

Not many people would openly admit this but receiving feedback can be hard sometimes. Often harder than giving feedback. That is a fact. Here are a few tips on how you can get better at receiving feedback!

1. Be an active listener

Make the effort to really listen to what people are saying. Make sure you understand what is really being said. You can do this by asking some control question like “ Am I correct assuming you mean….”. This way you get a better understanding of the feedback you are receiving.

2. State of Mind

Make sure you are aware of your state of mind. Are you in the right mindset to receive feedback? Be aware of how you are going to react, especially to negative feedback. Science has shown three specific things that can make us defensive when receiving feedback. These are truth, identity and relationship. Do you feel that the feedback isn’t truthful? Is the thing you get feedback about so close to your heart and your identity that the feedback actually hurts? Does your relationship with the person giving you feedback affect how you receive the feedback? Have these things in mind when reflecting on the feedback you received.

3. Fight your first reaction

This ties in with point 2 as your first reaction is often a dismissing facial expression or looking for an excuse. Receiving constructive feedback is not easy, our first reaction is often to look for an explanation or blaming it on something we can’t control. Fight this urge and listen to the whole feedback!

4. Thank you!

Say thank you! It’s important to thank someone for their feedback. It not only shows appreciation for their time spent on giving you feedback but also shows that you validate their points and understand what they are saying.

5. Process the feedback

Try to process the feedback that was given to you, while avoiding getting into a debate. The point is to find clarity and a way forward. Getting to the root of the raised issue is maybe even the most important step towards improvement. Here are a few steps you can follow to process feedback :

  • Ask for specific examples and situations where the issue appeared.
  • Make sure to agree with parts of the feedback that are not being disputed.
  • Find out if the issue is an isolated incident or something that has happened before.
  • The person giving you feedback is also a good person to ask for concrete solutions, ask about their ideas on how to improve.

Following these steps will help you with receiving the feedback that can be so valuable for your development!

Article written by: Matthieu Van Der Poorten


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