One of the things I love about my working life is the opportunity to teach people in workshops and conference talks.
When I do workshops, I ask for feedback. Generally, the feedback I receive is positive with some great comments.
Recently, I received negative feedback from a workshop participant. One person scored me 3 out of 10, and the comment he left was “I did not find the workshop exciting and didn’t learn anything.”
There was a time feedback such as this would have hit me right in my ego. I would have taken this very personally and wondered how I should change to avoid such negativity in the future.
I would hold on to such feedback with a lot of shame. I wouldn’t want to admit I even received it as I wanted to give the appearance everyone loves what I have to say.
I’ve learned over the past few years not to take anything personally. Regardless of how critical or flattering the feedback is.
I now see it all as just data for consideration. If no-one shows up or the room is full it’s just data. If the workshop goes incredible or is a total flop it’s just data. If I receive incredibly flattering or horribly critical feedback; data.
It’s all just data to consider in my desire to be a better person tomorrow.
Thought of the week
When we take things personally we tend to work from the place of our ego. Our ego protects our emotional selves, and at the same time can cause us problems.
Whether positive or negative look at feedback as data. What is the data telling me? What, if anything, do I want to adjust? What worked well for the group that I can amplify and provide more of next time?
It’s all just data for consideration.
Mike, I completely agree. I had a similar experience some years back when I delivered 40 minute case study presentation on dam removal – process, successes and lessons learned. And my audience was academics and practioners from the US and Canada. It was essentially one of those good news stories. How could you go wrong. My photos were good and my story was complete…except I was deathly ill, losing my voice and energy zapping quickly. One of my audience members rated me about a 3 out 10 also but noted that it was probably because I was not feeling well. I read the comment over and over, devastated trying to analyse myself. Then I realized that the person was simply rating me, not the topic or content. Then I got mad because I wondered if they were so shallow that they would rate the person, not the topic. Thats where the expression of judging a book by its cover comes from, and in the end you’re right, it’s all data. Someone else could deliver the same presentation today and get a different rating.