How to deal with good, bad and ugly feedback

It’s one thing to ask for feedback from your clients, it’s another to actually be able to deal with the feedback received and implement the changes in a review process.

The Review Process. Yes, it’s a thing of importance, and it deserves capital letters, and URGH. It BLOWS.

No really, tell me it doesn’t. You do the right thing and ask for feedback from your clients on how to improve your processes and get brilliant ideas, advice and AH HA kinda realisations.

And that’s where you stop.

You’re good at collecting the feedback.

You have an Asana project called ‘Feedback to implement’,  or a Trello board dedicated to capturing all the good ideas that you’re going to move with (at some point, just not now, I’m too busy), or worst of all, you have a folder on your desktop or email that it all gets thrown into, never to be revisited again.

And it sits there, boring a hole in your subconscious, making you feel more and more guilty as the months go on, knowing that the feedback, if implemented, would give your presentations, lessons, courses or programs a real boost in terms of effectiveness but you never quite find the time to do it because – well, you know you’re going to have to go back through all that work that you spent HOURS painstakingly creating and the thought of it makes you wanna puke.

Then there’s actually sifting through the feedback itself,

working out what to do with it, how much of it is worthy of the time it would take to implement across all your content, what to do with the stuff that’s just plain ridiculous – or is it? Are you being too sensitive or was the person just being a righteous jerk? (Yes I realise we started 5 minutes late, we were locked out of the room and I had no control over that – is there something I can learn from that though? What should I do next time?)

And then there’s the horror of working out WHAT to do with feedback you’ve received that you don’t even know is actually constructive  (‘I want more examples, I didn’t really understand that XYZ section‘ – like how is that even possible I gave you 3 already!! Were you even listening? Or was my teaching that bad? Do I need more examples? Or better examples? Or do I need to walk you through them in more detail?)

I’ve been there. I get it. 

Here’s the thing though. It’s a bit like getting your legs waxed ladies, or fellas, like booking in for that prostate check. Dentist appointments. Need I say more? (If you put off none of those things I have no idea what planet you come from.) You put it off and put it off because every fibre of your being is against it. You KNOW that the end result will be good for you, it’s not that you don’t want the outcome, you just don’t want to have to go through the icky part to get there.

So there are two parts to the problem of dealing with your feedback:

  1. Dealing with feedback, and
  2. actually getting to the point where you’re ready to and able to deal with the feedback.

I’ve got a whole lesson below that takes you through how to deal with the review process. Essentially, you need to learn how to classify the feedback so you know what to do with it, then deal with it piece by piece so that your content shines as much as it possibly can do. I could talk about this for hours, but there’s a whole lesson on this so I won’t in this article.

For that second point?  Here’s my advice: 

  1. Schedule it into your diary. If you’re doing a live workshop, you schedule in time to prepare for it right? Schedule in time to review all the feedback and implement the changes afterwards as well. That way it’s done and dusted and it won’t even MAKE it into the folder of feedback that you never want to open and deal with. Simple. Schedule in an hour the day after you deliver your workshop to process it all and if you need more time to implement the changes, then schedule that in too. The quicker the better. Don’t let a mole hill turn into a mountain in your head – multiple cliche alert – the quicker you rip that bandaid off, the quicker the pain will dissipate!
  2. Schedule it into your monthly or quarterly to do list. We all have lists of things that need to be scheduled in on a regular basis, (like health appointments, tune ups and car services,) so why not Content Review? If it’s not in the diary, it won’t happen. Put aside a day to open up that folder and systematically work through all the feedback and testimonials you’ve received over the last period. Put the good ones on your Praise page, and work out what to do with the rest of them. Again, if you actually don’t end up using the whole day because it was over much quicker than you thought it would be (most often the case), WOO HOO! you’ve got some more time up your sleeve to deal with other admin or tasks that need doing.

Moral of the story?

SCHEDULE IT IN, otherwise it won’t happen. Just like that leg wax, dentist appointment or prostate check that you KNOW you have to get around to doing – the longer you leave it the more monstrous a task it will become and the longer your clients will be left with a product that is below the standard it could and should be to showcase your brilliance!

Book it in. Go on. Now. Off you go. Open up that diary and make it a regular day, half day or hour in your schedule – you won’t regret it once it’s done honest!

Ready to learn how to deal with, and implement, all pieces of feedback, however good, bad or ugly they may be?

There’s a knack, and I have a lesson on it for you. I’ve prepared a 13 page worksheet that takes you through the process of how to categorise and deal with feedback that you receive about your course, services or learning products.

The lesson is available here.

It’s located in the FOUNDATIONS Level of the Library, in the Continuous Improvement course:

Lesson 4.2: Review

Click on the above link to be taken directly to the Lesson. If you’re already  a member of the Continuous Improvement course, make sure you’re logged in! If you’re not, you’ll be redirected to the page where you can become a member.

Review - deal with good and bad feedback

Great content stuck in your head & hard drives?

So much to think about . . .

>> What to put in & leave out, in what order?

>> How to package it? Or deliver it? Online?

>> Will it just be a waste of time & money?

>> Will the content actually help people and help me build my reputation as the go-to-professional in my field?

My quiz can help!

Do this 3 minute quiz, and find out exactly which areas you need help with.

4 thoughts on “How to deal with good, bad and ugly feedback”

  1. I totally agree, Maria! It’s something I look for every time I start a new relationship/friendship. It helps me to decide how much to invest in that relationship and if I find out they’re not ‘Reflectors’ then I usually remain friends with them but I don’t make as much effort to really bond – I know there’s no point and life is too short to waste precious time and energy on people who aren’t part of your ‘tribe’. Great post! Thanks. 🙂

    • Hear hear Vicky! I think the key is in knowing what camp we all fall into – it makes it so much easier to understand why some relationships just don’t gel – not that it’s the only reason people don’t gel!

  2. Hmmm, you really have me thinking with this one Maria. I’m actually quite torn. I think I’m both a Reflector and a Non-Reflector at times. Yes, I find it very frustrating when people are trapped in a cycle and not open to discovering a new path, to try doing things a different way, hoping for a better outcome. On the other hand, I often think ‘gosh, not sure what the lesson there was, not to worry, tomorrow will be awesome’.

    Now laughing to myself, in thinking this through, I’m obviously a reflector hehehe.

    • Definitely a reflector I’d say! 🙂 great to see it got you thinking though Kylie – that’s the whole point! thank yOU! 🙂


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