How to receive negative feedback brilliantly

Curium | 18 Jun 2013 | News | Sustain Change


Do you know anyone who is brilliant at giving feedback?


Probably not. In my experience most people are unable to give feedback constructively.


My advice is NEVER expect feedback to be well delivered. The sandwich of ‘positive – negative – positive’ is fake at best; even if they provide feedback in this way, it is contrived and they still emphasise step 2 too much for your liking.


Feedback is the responsibility of the recipient, not the ‘giver’


Here’s why. Any comment can be turned into fantastic, actionable feedback if the recipient ‘receives’ it in the right way.


Here’s how to receive feedback brilliantly:


Choose 3 useful emotions:

  1. 1.     Enthusiastic
  2. 2.     Grateful
  3. 3.     Curious


The next time someone gives you off the cuff feedback, such as ‘that was a terrible presentation’, jump on the opportunity.


In the most enthusiastic and grateful style you can muster (but you do also have to mean it), say:


‘Genuinely, I can’t tell you how grateful I am that someone has finally given me an honest view of my presentation, thank you’.  While they are reeling from your enthusiasm and trying to work out whether you are serious or taking the ****, follow this up with incredible curiosity:


‘Tell me, to make this an exceptional presentation for you, which specific areas would you change? What is it about the style of delivery you would love to see? How would the content jump out at you?’


Really pin them down to the point so they are forced to give you some valuable, actionable information that genuinely adds value.


The outcome


I guarantee that:


1)     You’ll feel better about the feedback (because you had control)

2)     They will feel as if they have really given you some valuable feedback (their lack of competence has been masked)

3)     They will see you as someone open to feedback, therefore they’re more likely to provide it in the future.


And an unexpected benefit…


Be warned: this approach may freak people out. The lasting effect being that they will not want to give off the cuff feedback again.

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