57 Experts On How to Handle Negative Feedback [Infographic]

By Sara McGuire, Nov 30, 2016

Infographics: Negative Feedback Header

As the saying goes, we are our own worst critics. But sometimes other people like you tell you what’s bugging them about you as well.

How do you respond to negative feedback?

Negative feedback can come in many forms: bad reviews, rejected pitches, negative comments, criticism from your coworkers. No matter is it is, it can be a real blow to your ego.

 

It’s not easy to hear that your work isn’t well received. What should you do when someone responds negatively to something you’ve written, or to a presentation you’ve given?

Do you take negative feedback and use it to propel you to do better next time? Do you dwell on it for a while and then move on? Do you use it to gain new perspective? Do you actually like negative feedback?

How do you handle negative feedback?

To deal with negative feedback, you need to:

  1. Listen to that feedback.
  2. Decide if that feedback is constructive or not.
  3. Take that feedback to heart moving forward, or simply let it go.

Of course, this process will be different for different people.

At INBOUND 2016, we asked 57 speakers and attendees how they deal with negative feedback. As expected, different people had different approaches to handling negative feedback from their readers, customer and co-workers.

Here’s what they had to say:

Infographics: Negative Feedback

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1. Dan Tyre

@dantye

Director at HubSpot

The 3 ways I deal with negative feedback:

1. Don’t take it personally.

2. See if I can learn something from the experience.

3. Consider the source–if it is a trusted relationship then I am inclined to follow it more closely; if it is a casual relationship where someone is stating an opinion or just pontificating, it is less interesting.

2. Oli Gardner

@oligardner

Co-Founder of Unbounce

The only time I get negative feedback these days is when I look at speaker feedback. When people respond negatively, I spend all my time focusing on that negative feedback. I feel bad about it for a while.

3. Rakia Reynolds

@RakiaReynolds

President of Skai Blue Media

Leverage those negative moments as a way to build your authoritative voice, because you can be an expert on addressing something. Be able to predict and plan for failure. And sometimes we look at feedback as a little bit of our failure because you’ve opened yourself up to or you feel like you’ve done something wrong. But when you can predict those things, that’s when you are able to control your narrative.

4. Peep Laja

@peeplaja

Founder of ConversionXL

Negative feedback: unless it comes from people I actually know and who know me, I just ignore it. The caravan moves on.

5. Alexia Vernon

@AlexiaVernon

President of Alexia Vernon Empowerment

I would start by saying what can I learn from this and sometimes what we can learn is how to give better feedback to other people. And when someone seems frustrated, try to receive their emotions and then see how you can respond.

6. Vera Jones

@verasvoiceworks

President of Vera’s Voice Works

I’ll be the first to admit, negative feedback can be hurtful, discouraging and even deflating if you don’t have thick skin, or an even thicker winner’s mentality. My rule for handling negative criticism or feedback is to remember this: “Your focus should not be about being APPROVED but rather being IMPROVED!” True winners are always looking for ways to get better. Seeking to be APPROVED involves a lot of unstable emotion.

Seeking to be IMPROVED involves a lot of stable evaluation. If your mindset and your desire is to be improved, then you will remain open to all forms of constructive critique, because you will always be welcoming and processing for information to grow or to better yourself, your product or your service. That said, the first part of that processing is considering the source. I ask myself a couple of two-part questions.

The first thing I ask: is this a reliable or relatable source, and is there usable value in this criticism? I don’t actually have to personally know or like the source to find value in the criticism. If I give a speech and an audience member says he thought my presentation lacked sufficient data, if I am seeking approval, then I may be hurt or offended, become defensive, or simply dismiss the comment and the commenter as being insignificant. If, however, my goal is to be IMPROVED then I may ask, “In what ways do you think I could have provided more data?” Or, “What specific topic were you interested in learning more information?” Unless the audience member was someone I had reason to believe solely wanted to be destructive, there’s always a chance I can find some useable value in almost any relatable person’s feedback, as long as my goal is to be IMPROVED rather than APPROVED. If you find no respectable, reliable, relatable value whatsoever in the source, let go. Lose the negativity. It is of no use to you.

The second two-part question: Is there any truth in the feedback, and if so, is there reasonable opportunity for me to change and improve? If an audience member said my presentation would be more humorous if I flew across the stage in a superwoman costume, while that may be true (particularly how I look in red tights), it is far from likely I will ever be able to appropriately change my presentation to this degree. Constantly searching for improvement opportunities, however, I may still find some usable value in even an absurd critique. In this example, my take away may be to add a little more humor, or add more visual. If I find no truth, of course I find no reason to change. Again, just let go.

I always encourage others, as well as myself, to look for usable value in all critique. You will be amazed at how you can spin negative feedback positive if you stop trying to be APPROVED, and simply focus on being IMPROVED! I’m not saying it is always easy, but I am offering that it is definitely possible. When it comes to negative feedback, remember, “use it or lose it” and “spin it to win it!”

7. Christopher Penn

@cspenn

VP Marketing Technology at SHIFT Communications

Part of dealing with negative feedback is understanding the relationship between what you are saying and what people are picking up or reading. The other part is to dig into what that feedback is actually saying and what can we turn that negative feedback into. The feedback is the feedback but what you do with that is what will determine if the outcome is negative or positive.

8. Doug Kessler

@dougkessler

Creative Director & Co-Founder of Velocity

When I get negative feedback, I haul out the big guns and blast the bastard out of the water. Like a comedian to a heckler–it’s kill or be killed. Flame the loser to Kingdom Come or everyone will think they can take a pop.

Just kidding:

Receiving negative feedback with open ears is a hugely important part of being a marketer. The only real response you need to make is “thanks”–and then to try to take on board what the person said and how it can help you.

But sometimes, I feel that someone has been unfair or unnecessarily nasty about something we did (a blog post or piece of content, usually). I used to respond in kind, stooping down for a flame-fest. That never felt as good as I thought it would feel.

These days, I try to take the high ground. Our work is not for everybody. If something we did missed the target, maybe we’ll hit it next time. When I reply with a smile and a “Sorry this one didn’t work for you” comment, people usually get really nice and all the venom leaches out of the conversation.

Marketing can be a happy-clappy echo chamber, with everyone congratulating each other all the time. We need people who are willing to risk their “nice guy” reputations to say the difficult things.

9. Jenifer Kern

@jenifer_kern

CMO at Tracx

The number one rule of thumb is mutual respect. Any feedback I get, I try to listen and be compassionate and understand a perspective other than my own. We only come to every situation with our own personal experiences. I’m not a victim, I’ll look at it and see their point of view. And not all negative comments require a response. Just let respect and compassion guide the way.

10. Daniel Lewis

@tbydaniel

Co-Founder of MARSketing

When it comes to negative feedback, it actually makes me blush! I know this sounds like an exaggerated “self-pride protector shield” answer, but seriously it does make me feel good. Why? Over the years of trying so many things, whether it be business or any other crazy ideas and projects I’ve tried, there has been times where I have received absolutely no feedback, no comments, no engagement, no suggestions and basically no interest.

Now that sucked big time.

After you’ve tried so many things and experienced failure to some degree, you get to a place where you appreciate the fact that someone has taken the time out of their life to actually say anything about what you’re doing. I mean seriously, they could have just ignored it completely, but it was interesting enough to evoke some form of an opinion. When people give me negative feedback, it creates an opportunity for me to take another look into what I’ve put out there and hey, who knows, maybe I can improve something.

We’ll never be perfect to everyone because we are perfectly different. The moment I understood life this way, I stopped trying to please everyone and focused on being as genuine with myself and my ideas as I could be. There will be appreciators and there will be “un-appreciators.” Get used to it!

All in all, feedback is no different than receiving publicity…any publicity is good publicity in my opinion, and any feedback is helpful feedback!

11. Matt Heinz

@HeinzMarketing

President of Heinz Marketing

Meet it straight on. Take it seriously, respond with empathy and humility, take it as an opportunity to get better, stronger, smarter. Negative feedback is an opportunity to learn, if you’ll let it.

12. Bryn Drescher

@BrynDrescher

Motivational Speaker & Change Agent at BrynErgy Productions

After I dust off my bruised ego I realize that the only way I am going to get better is to take constructive feedback and realize that there is always room for improvement. The only other thing I also remind myself is that you cannot please everyone ,no matter what you do, so be open to feedback but don’t take it so personally it cripples you and your message.

13. Jack Jostes

@jackjostes

President & CEO at Ramblin Jackson

The best way to deal with negative feedback is to listen. Often, when people are upset, they just want to feel heard.

For local businesses who receive negative reviews, I always recommend that they respond. If you know the person who posted a review, try calling them to see what their experience was and how you can make it up to them. Often, they’ll remove the review if they feel like the business owner has taken care of them.

If you can’t reach the person, post a reply to the review. Do your best not to be defensive. Have someone else proofread your review to make sure there isn’t a negative tone. When responding to reviews, thank the person for writing a review, acknowledge and empathize with their concern, address how you’re going to handle the issue, and leave an offer for them to call you to discuss it. This is a great PR opportunity to show potential customers how you reply when things go wrong.

Often, issues in business are the result of miscommunication.

14. Kit Pang

@kitpangx

Founder of Boston Speaks

Negative feedback is a loaded gift! Here’s what I mean: when I first started out teaching public speaking, I was hosting meet ups and workshops.

There are two ways you can look at this feedback: 1) I suck, or 2) How can I get better.

Which kind of mindset do you have?

Since January 2016, I’ve hosted roughly 80 workshops and each time I ask for feedback to make the experience better for my audience. Sometimes, you might not like the gift that you received because it’s not useful to you. However, if your mind is closed off then you will miss the chance to appreciate the work that the person went through to get you the gift or the warm intentions behind it.

“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” ― Frank Zappa

15. Chris Kneeland

@cultideas

Co-Founder and CEO at Cult Collective

I learn more from negative feedback than positive. It’s easy to give a compliment. It usually requires both courage and clarification to be critical, especially when it’s not anonymous. I typically do three things:

1. Consider the source. The source must have first hand experience with whatever they are critiquing, and they can’t be assholes. If the person is just a negative person and seems to be critical of everything, I disregard.

2. Ponder. Negative feedback can sting at first. So I try to withhold any pushback and simply let the feedback marinate in my mind for several days.

3. React. More times than not, the feedback contains elements of truth that are really constructive.

16. Scott Meyer

@mrscottmeyer

Bro-Founder of 9 Clouds

I deal with negative feedback by remembering who is in the arena, as Teddy Roosevelt said. If the feedback comes from someone who is not putting themselves out there, it’s not worth my attention. If it’s from someone else who is taking a risk and creating, I take it to heart, try to improve what they mentioned and ideally ask them to help me improve.

Negative feedback is an invitation to meet a collaborator or mentor with the right response.

17. Paul Roetzer

@paulroetzer

Founder & CEO of PR 20/20

I embrace it. It’s not always easy to hear, but negative feedback, when presented in a constructive way, can be invaluable to growth on a professional and personal level.

18. Jen Spencer

@jenspencer

VP of Sales & Marketing at Allbound

The first thing I do is try to identify if the feedback is potentially useful, or if it’s just garbage. There are people out there who will always see the negative, always heap negative nonsense on your shoulders. I’ve gotten better over the years at picking those out, but they still get under my skin. I wish unnecessary or irrelevant negative feedback didn’t affect me as much as it does, and I think it irks me because I throw myself all in when I set out to do, well, anything really. On the other hand, I also try to avoid putting up a massive wall when I receive negative feedback, because every experience is an opportunity for growth, right?

Sheesh! Why can’t people just love me and everything I do?

19. Gabe Wahhab

@gabewahhab

Director of Interactive Services at Square 2 Marketing

Listen and understand why they are giving the negative feedback. Be empathetic and let them know you understand their pain or concern, state your response and, if needed, a resolution.

20. Bob Gower

@bobgower

Organization Design Consultant at The Ready

With feedback you always want to lean into it. You always want to ask for it; you want to be excited about it to one degree. And also, don’t argue with it. Just take it in and if it really is hard to deal with it, process it on your own; don’t shut it out. Take what you like and leave the rest.

Sometimes feedback is not useful and needs to be resisted. But you need to engage with it personally and really, strongly consider it. So treat feedback as a gift, take it in, and be willing to let go when it doesn’t work.

21. Nancy Harhut

@nharhut

Chief Creative Officer at Wilde Agency

How do I deal with negative feedback? Take a breath, step back and try to look at it objectively. Can I learn something from it? Is there a legitimate point? Is it coming from a genuine desire to help? If so, it presents an opportunity for me to improve–so I’ll try to remember and act on it. If not, at least it helps me clarify my position on the matter.

22. Warren Greshes

@WarrenGreshes

Owner and President of Speaking of Success

I just ignore it. Unless it’s from someone I know well and trust, I find that most people who give negative feedback do it out of jealousy or because they’re pissed off that you are the center of attention and they aren’t.

There are WAY too many people out there who hate their own situation (job, life, etc.) and, in order to feel better about themselves, find it FAR easier to try and bring others down to their low level.

23. Debbie Farese

@dkfarese

Director of Marketing at HubSpot

When I receive negative feedback, I consider it with an objective perspective and keep my emotions in check.

I like to approach feedback with curiosity because it helps turn it into a learning experience and not a personal insult. I first ask myself if I agree with the feedback. If yes, I evaluate different courses of action based on the impact of change and effort required. If no, I consider whether I simply disagree with the person who delivered the feedback or if he/she has the wrong perception. If the latter, there may be things I should do to shift their misconceptions and/or make sure others aren’t misled in the future.

24. David Hoffeld

@DavidHoffeld

CEO & Science-Based Sales Trainer at Hoffeld Group

1. Consider The Source: If the source is credible or someone is genuinely trying to help, I try to graciously take the feedback and contemplate it. However, if someone is just negative, has questionable motives, or is not knowledgeable in the area they are giving the feedback, I usually pay little attention. I used to struggle with giving too much weight to what people who I shouldn’t be listening to said. I don’t suffer from this anymore and my life and business are better for it.

2. Reflect & Flush: When I am given negative feedback I try to follow the two-step process of reflect and flush. Here’s what that looks like. I first ask myself, what I can learn from the feedback? What’s the lesson? Should I make a change? Then, once I’ve decided on what I am going to do, I mentally flush the feedback. I don’t want to dwell on anything negative. So, once I have a plan of action, I’m done with thinking about the feedback and I will refocus my mind on something else and move on.

25. Anum Hussain

@anum

MBA Candidate & Former Growth Marketer at HubSpot

Not all negative feedback is created equal. It’s important to understand where the negative feedback is coming from. Is it an active user or blog reader? Is it a one-time visitor? Is it a churned user? Weight the value of the feedback with the audience that matters most to your business before deciding to take any drastic action.

26. Eric Keiles

@erickeiles

Founder & Chief Marketing Officer at Square 2 Marketing

It is not a question–there will always be negative folks out there. Being a public speaker and author, my first move is to be defensive, but I’ve learned over the years to stop, think and ask myself, “do they have a valid point?” Sometimes they do and I will be happy to engage and debate–with the goal being to convert them into a positive ally (doesn’t work often!). But even if I can’t convert them–I’m content in the knowledge that I am trying my very, very best to do something positive for folks. If I can get people thinking differently about their sales and marketing to help their businesses rise to the level they envision, then I can sleep well each night.

27. Ja-Nae Duane

@janaeduane

Author of The Startup Equation

I thrive on negative feedback because you can learn much more from it. Whether it is identifying if your message resonates with your audience or if someone didn’t like your dress, these types of feedback always come with the story of “why”. And when you learn the reason why someone didn’t care for you or your work, then you know if you are hitting your mark.

28. Matt Sunshine

@mattsunshine

Managing Partner at The Center for Sales Strategy and LeadG2

The way I deal with negative feedback is to try to learn from it. I have found that the best strategy is to listen, learn and improve, if possible. Constant improvement is core to the way we help our clients to grow their business and to ultimately help them to drive their sales performance. I think a big reason why we are able to retain over 90% of our client’s year over year is that we never think we have it 100% figured out and we are always looking for how to improve.

29. Kareem Taylor

@kareemtaylor

Author at Kareem Taylor Communications

Some negative feedback lets me know that whatever I did is not for them and will never be for them. Some negative feedback is constructive and comes from a place of solution-orientedness. I take it all with a grain of salt as sometimes it’s easier to spectate than it is to put yourself out there in the middle of the field, with the spotlight on you.

30. David Darmanin

@daviddarmanin

CEO and Founder of Hotjar

My approach is quite simple. We smile, say thank you and accept that in the end – it’s always our fault. We are the creators. Our users and customers risk their time, job and reputation to use us. When they have feedback for us it’s our obligation to listen and actually give a shit.

31. Dr. Tony Alessandra

@TonyAlessandra

Founder/CVO of Assessments 24×7

I welcome negative feedback as it gives me specific to-do’s to improve my presentation.

32. Brian Fanzo

@iSocialFanz

Keynote Speaker at iSocialFanz 

I work hard at managing both good and bad feedback. If I’m gonna spend 10 minutes analyzing and being frustrated at one bad comment or tweet or engagement, I need to make sure I spend an equal amount of time on good comments and engagement.

Ideally I understand we can’t please everyone but too often we spend 15 minutes analyzing bad feedback and less than 30 seconds on the good.

33. Alison Elworthy

@alisonelworthy

VP of Operations at HubSpot

Listen to it with open ears. One of my favorite quotes is, “feedback is the breakfast of champions.” All feedback, good and bad, makes you stronger and better!

34. Patty McCord

@pattymccord1

Principal at Patty McCord Consulting

Ah…constructive criticism, the American definition of negative feedback. I love feedback. It’s a powerful tool to help people get better at whatever they are doing. I’ve found that we are all more open to this as a positive (feedback as a gift) when we perceive the giver to be trustworthy and acting on behalf of your best interest. I am more open to and welcome negative feedback when it includes solutions or recommendations. Otherwise it’s just criticism. Who needs that?

35. Bret Peters

@petersbret

Chief Marketing Officer at Fig Leaf Software

I use negative feedback as an opportunity to learn. Oftentimes negative feedback can be a result of a misunderstanding or poor communication. Receiving both positive and negative feedback allows me to have a barometer of how I’m doing so that I can do more of what is working or correct perceptions or actions to improve a situation. In the case of working with clients, the most important aspect of providing services is to have effective two way communications. We have to listen and learn from one another for everyone’s success.

36. Eric Pratt

@eric_pratt

Managing Partner at Revenue River Marketing

I shrug it off and keep doing my best to keep going. There will always be haters and they’ll never achieve. Neither will you if you listen to their bullshit.

You can change if needed.

37. Niti Shah

@nitifromboston

Senior Marketing Manager at HubSpot

As much as negative feedback can sting, it is an important exercise in humility. Although it’s easier to get defensive, taking a few moments to step back and then trying to understand where the other person is coming from and what they’re calling out can help you grow professionally and personally. Usually, this feedback is coming from a good place.

As for negative feedback that’s truly uncalled for (like those pesky internet trolls in article comments sections), in the words of Taylor Swift, “shake it off!”

38. Nate Riggs

@nateriggs

CEO of NR Media Group

There are a lot of classic theories on how to deal with negative feedback that work, but I think the biggest thing that has helped me as a business owner came from Berne Brown’s keynote at INBOUND 2015. Since her talk last year, I made it a goal to read all of her work.

What it’s taught me is that the most important aspect of dealing with negative feedback is first, putting yourself in situations and positions where you open yourself up to it. Brown talks about this as the ability we have to “show up and be seen” or “our face-down moments in the arena.”

It’s in these face-down moments that the negative feedback can come in a lot of different forms, and we, as business owners, can retreat to our safety zones by surround ourselves with people who always nod in agreement.

We have to also make it safe for people to deliver negative feedback, and that is often one of the hardest things to do as a business owner. If someone delivers negative feedback and we react defensively to save face or our own pride, we actually deter that person from choosing to deliver the feedback in the future.

I have seen lots of businesses stagnate because of scenarios where the owner didn’t make it safe for his or her employees, customers or partners to surface uncomfortable questions, feedback or discussions.

39. Kristen Craft

@thecrafty

Director of Business Development at Wistia

Writing it down and revisiting it a month later is a good way to get over the shock. The first time you think about it, you’re hurt; the second time you think about it, you’re like, “OK, I see where it’s coming from”; the third time you know how to respond to it. The act of writing it down let’s you process it and reflect on it.

40. Bob Ruffolo

@BobRuffolo

CEO of IMPACT

I look at negative feedback as an opportunity. Our agency is not perfect. No organization is. Negative feedback is better than no feedback because the person providing it cares enough to take the time to let you know where you can improve. Those insights are incredibly valuable for building a world-class organization. We thank the person for sharing their feedback, probe into their experience, and start brainstorming ways to make situations like that not happen in the future.

41. David Meerman Scott

@dmscott

Marketing & Sales Strategist at Freshspot Marketing

If feedback is constructive, I respond. If feedback comes from a bully, I ignore.

42. Marcus Sheridan

@thesaleslion

President of The Sales Lion

Regarding feedback, I think it’s important that we walk a fine line with it.

If we pay too much attention, it can kill our creativity and our unique style.

If we don’t pay enough attention, then we may end up missing out on correcting something that is holding us back from reaching our potential.

Personally, I do pay attention to the negative feedback I get, and immediately ask myself two questions:

1. Is the person that is giving this to me expert enough to know what they’re talking about?

2. Is there any truth in what is being said?

After an honest assessment, I’ll make a note to make changes. If I feel the feedback was just a matter of the person not liking my style or opinion, but without weight or merit, I simply let it go.

43. Rachel Sprung

@rsprung

Senior Manager, Growth Marketing at HubSpot

One of the best pieces of advice I was given about dealing with negative feedback is to wait 24 hours before reacting. During that time you can really dig into the feedback and figure out where it is coming from and what it means. You will also figure out how to calm down if you were upset or caught off guard by hearing the negative feedback. By giving yourself that period of time you can have a follow-up conversation that is much more constructive and productive.

44. Iliyana Stareva

@IliyanaStareva

Principal & Channel Consultant at HubSpot

Take a look at the negative feedback and evaluate if it’s valid. Speak to your team if you need to to get the background. Regardless whether it was a mistake on your side or the customer is just in a bad mood, acknowledge their feelings, apologise and say how you are going to do better next time or how you are going to fix their present issue if this was on you.

45. Sonja Jacob

@sonja

Director of Content Marketing at Mattermark

I think negative feedback is important for progressing as an individual. You have to be open and let it simmer. If you let it simmer and sink in, you’ll be able to look it over and see if it’s true. And it will help you get over your ego and be better.

46. Jim Keenan

@keenan

CEO of A Sales Guy

I ignore it. That’s all there is to do. Negative feedback is unproductive if the motive of the feedback is NOT constructive. It is driven by a motive that is NOT in your best interest. The deliverer has an anti-you motive and is trying to hurt you, undermine you, derail you or some other nefarious objective.

Giving it ANY credence or attention is feeding into your own demise.

Ignore, delete, walkaway, turn your back, close your eyes, do what ever you have to do, just don’t let it in.

47. Nadya Khoja

@NadyaKhoja

Director of Marketing at Venngage and Creator of Drunk Entrepreneurs

For me, negative feedback comes in many forms. The most common form is that of facing rejection. Facing rejection multiple times in a given day can take its toll. Instead of crying about being told no, or being ignored, I focus more on trying to understand how I can change the outcome in the future. Is it a matter of rephrasing my request? Is it a matter of being more persistent?

The thing is, everyone deals with negative feedback. The challenge is being able to take that feedback and learn from it so that you can continue to improve and grow.

48. Dr. Chester Branch

@storynotes

Transmedia Architect at MediaShift

Aside from internet trolls, embracing negative feedback is akin to hiring the hackers. Often the end-user/fan understands the product better than the initial manufacturer. We must accept that we live in a crowd-sourced prosumer movement where the consumer is also part-producer.

49. Jimena Arnal

@jearnal

Founder of UnMundo

I’m the queen of negative feedback. I’ve dealt with it for being super quiet, for being annoying, but in the same way you need to be a hustler. As much as I want to vent when I see negative comments around me, I remind myself to take a step back and rise above it.

50. Jessie-Lee Nichols

@jhyphenl

Art Director at Quintain Marketing

Feedback isn’t negative unless you’re being rude, which you should never do! Creatives have thick skin and the best ones have been trained to ask deeper questions when met with resistance. In the end, we know it makes us better designers and it produces a better product for our clients.

51. Naheed Somji

@NaheedSomji

Social Media Specialist at Quarry

As a social media marketer, legitimate negative feedback keeps you honest and forces you to be better. You can implement Jay Baer’s Hug Your Haters model and change the customer experience. It’s the illegitimate negativity that is harder to deal with. In those situations, I turn to the talented Taylor Swift’s mantra, “Haters gonna hate and we’re just gonna shake it off.”

52. Jacqueline Conway

@jacq_conway

Marketing Director at SaskTel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival

When concerns are raised I always live in the solution. Accepting the feedback, remembering the goal and adjusting accordingly has always served me well.

53. Alex Greenwood

@a_greenwood

Principal & Owner at AGPR/AlexanderG Public Relations

My reaction to negative feedback as a creative depends mightily on the circumstances. If it’s a negative review of one of my mystery novels or short stories on Amazon, I try to laugh it off with the rationalization that my books are simply not for everybody. Not every reader is going to get or enjoy what I’m trying to say.

I have close friends and family who don’t especially care for my fiction, and I really don’t take it personally. Okay, I used to, but after ten years, I have mellowed out. I just laugh it off and adopt the attitude that I did not write those books for everyone.

However, when it comes to devising content, campaigns or other creative work for a client, I take negative feedback much more to heart. Whether I agree or not, my clients are paying me to give them the best creative product I can–and if it’s not working for them, it’s not working for me. The luxury of saying, “This is isn’t for everybody,” is not even in my vocabulary with our clients. I take their critiques very seriously, and if it informs a better way to move the needle for the client I incorporate it.

If it is a totally left field, potentially disastrous bit of feedback, I work with the client to tease out what is at the heart of the objection and strive to devise a compromise that works for everyone.

54. Amanda Boudria

@amanda_boudria

Marketing Manager at Corwin Press

You need to take risks. Sometimes you’ll fail, and nearly every time you’ll face negative feedback. It’s important to be confident in your beliefs, but also to consider the feedback as an opportunity to do better next time. It’s all about being human and facing criticism head on, even welcoming it.

55. Nicholas Osler

@nicholasosler

Marketing and Ops Coordinator at Designzillas

A lot of our feedback is communicated digitally–both internal and external. I think it’s important to always keep an open, collaborative mindset when receiving negative feedback. Find a middle ground and identify action items instead of getting hung up on small details.

56. Sarah Corley

@srcorley

Marketing Specialist at WSOL

As creatives, it can become easy to be attached to ideas and projects that we pitch. So when it comes to critique, it can be nerve-wracking to offer up “a part of ourselves” for feedback.

I actually enjoy critique! Why? If you have the mindset that people genuinely want you to succeed, then you should always been open to hearing what they have to say.

We all know that your work is fabulous–you made it! So, approach critique as a way to make your work even stronger than it already is.

Our company has weekly critique. In fact, some of my best work has come from taking feedback and incorporating it. Besides, doesn’t it take teamwork to make the dream work?!

57. Emily Amedee

Marketing and Communications Director at One Tribe Creative

You get the behavior you tolerate. If there’s a comment that seems small and you don’t think it deserves feedback, that moment will happen over and over again. When giving feedback, you have to name the behavior you’re not ok with.

BONUS: Salma Jafri

@salmajafri

Content Marketing Strategist, Speaker & Trainer at Salma Jafri

Negative feedback or criticism tells me 2 things:

1. That my work is not bland. It’s eliciting an emotion which is a great thing! I would rather be interesting than boring, although it does require a thick skin.

2. That negativity says more about the person giving it than the person receiving it. The negative person could have chosen not to comment and simply move on. The fact that they took time out to say something negative means they’ve been triggered and so it’s their problem, not mine.

3. Constructive criticism, on the other hand, is always welcome! I’m always willing to listen to ways in which to improve myself.

BONUS: Meghan Keaney Anderson

@meghkeaney

VP of Marketing at HubSpot

It sounds simple, but the best way to respond to negative feedback is to make sure you fully hear it. Your first impulse may be to move on from the uncomfortable moment right away, but the only way to genuinely move on is to make sure you understand what’s behind it. Ask questions. Get the feedback to a less generalized and more actionable place. That way you can actually do something about it.

What works best for you?

I know this is a lot of information to take in. Really, how you receive, process and react to negative feedback will depend on your business and your own personality.

We’re all human and we feel frustration, hurt, and anger. The important thing to remember is to not let negative feedback stand in your way.

Decide for yourself: when should you listen to negative feedback? When should you ignore it?

And most importantly: what are you going to do about it?

 

The infographic in the article was created by Joanna Lu.

About Sara McGuire

Sara McGuire is a Content Editor at Venngage. When she isn't writing research-driven content, she enjoys reviewing music and hitting up the latest culinary hot spot. Follow her on Twitter @sara_mcguire