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'Four Tips for Soliciting (and Surviving) Feedback' from Women's Leadership Author, Speaker and Consultant Selena Rezvani

Four Tips for Soliciting (and Surviving) Feedback

[ Wednesday, Jul 10, 2013 ]

Sometimes in our zeal to stand out from the crowd at work, we miss some of the high-impact opportunities sitting right in front of us.   Asking for feedback is exactly one of these opportunities—and one which presents itself daily.  Aside from demonstrating that we’re hungry to learn and improve, asking for feedback shows something even more fundamental.  That we care.  We care about our performance, our contribution, and our reputation. 

Below are four tips for maneuvering through and surviving feedback.     


1) Always ask them first.  Beat your boss or peer to the punch by asking if they had any observations they want to share with you following a presentation or meeting you led. You might say,  ‘‘I’m glad our prospect saw value in the presentation of offerings today. In the spirit of learning, do you have any feedback on how I could improve my selling and presentation skills? I’m always looking to get better.’’

2) Solicit strengths and weaknesses.  Too often, when people are asked to give feedback, they assume you want to hear about your weakest areas.  This is not as helpful as it may seem.  Learning about your strengths can be just as powerful in terms of improving your skills and reputation.  After all, many a strength has been cultivated into a superpower based on honest feedback.  Try saying, ‘‘I was glad you were part of today’s meeting.  Based on what you saw, can you share one thing you thought I did well in there and one thing I could do better next time?’’

3) Spotlight why you succeeded.  Once you begin soliciting feedback regularly, consider why you got positive kudos exactly when you did.  Ask yourself, “Why did I hear this now? What did I do differently?”  For many of us, it can feel like we are doing the same thing that we’ve been doing for years.  Isolate if it was your demeanor, preparation level, or another factor that made a difference in your performance.

4) Take the treasure, leave the rest.  Resist the urge when you hear negative feedback to dwell incessantly on the information.  Remember that it represents one single piece of information.  You know who you are and where your skills generally lie.  Look for the kernels that resonate and feel true, even if they sting.  Finally, reflect on the feedback and then either push back if you disagree or move on.


How do you handle feedback in a way that keeps you resilient?