People can suck!

One thing everyone must face at some point is negative feedback. It often can sting and it plays around with our emotions. However, you can learn to deal with it appropriately.

Let’s go over some tips for dealing with both positive and negative feedback that can be useful for you depending on where you are.

Avoid Acting Defensive

When I have voice students doing competitions, I always set them up for the assessments they might receive from adjudicators. I remind them that it is one person’s opinion and it doesn’t necessarily mean they are correct. It also doesn’t mean that they have all the facts and can only judge on what they hear and see at the moment. I always tell them to smile, nod, listen and say thank you. Then we

can discuss it later and decipher whether or not the feedback was helpful to their growth or not and if not, we chuck it!

Only Apologize If Needed

It is rare that you would ever need to apologize when receiving feedback, but it can be a knee-jerk reaction. You would only need to apologize if you have offended someone in some way by what you have said or done. If you’re unsure, instead of reacting right away, inform the person that you appreciate what they’re saying but you need some time to think about it and consider it. That way, you don’t say you’re sorry for something about which you have nothing to be sorry.

Ask for Clarification

When someone is giving you negative feedback, take the time to hear what they’re saying, then repeat back to them what you thought they said to ensure that you really understood. Sometimes (especially if we have low self-esteem) we can over-interpret something as negative when it’s not. Ask for understanding and take the time to let it sink in so that you’re sure you really do get it.

Remember that perfection does not exist. Everyone makes mistakes; that's normal. Let go of the pressure to be perfect even when getting negative feedback.

Consider the Source

When receiving negative feedback, always consider the source! Is it coming from someone you respect? A mentor? Someone you trust? If not, then you need to ask yourself if their opinion matters to you. Most times it shouldn’t!


The truth is, negative feedback is a part of life and almost a right of passage for you. It is important to put them into perspective and not dwell on them in a negative way.

Just think about it...if you’ve received negative feedback or reviews, then know that you’re that much closer to reaching your goals. It means that people are noticing what you’re doing! Keep on keeping on!

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