How To Deal With Those Corrective Moments

As I came off the stage, one of the people in the audience pulled me aside. I could see they were eager to tell me something.

“I loved what you had to say. Unfortunately, you took that one quote completely out of context. But overall you made some great points.”

It was the classic “sandwich” technique. Say something nice, insert constructive comment or criticism, end with a positive. I’ve used it and I’ve had it used on me. What’s interesting is how quickly we forget the bread and remember the meat.

Perhaps this is just human nature. We don’t like criticism. We don’t like to be wrong. We don’t want to mess up.

Imagine getting this list of comments following a presentation:

You spoke well.
You were easy to understand.
Your slides were eye-catching.
Your stories were funny.
Your zipper was down.
You engaged the audience.
Your application was spot on.

That’s really good feedback. But most people are going to fixate on the whole “zipper” thing. In the midst of all of that praise, the one corrective comment will stick with us the longest.

If you are doing anything significant, you’re going to ruffle some feathers or open yourself up to other points of view. If no one is commenting on your work, you may not be saying anything worth commenting on. Whenever you receive a corrective comment, you can languish in it or learn from it. Here’s some simple strategies to handle your “zipper” moments.

If its valid, acknowledge it.
If its helpful, appreciate it.
If its fixable, fix it.
If its opinion, question it.
If its unexpected, reflect on it.
If its sincere, learn from it.
If its wrong, discard it.
If its useful, use it.
If its challenging, grow from it.

What do you think? In the midst of positive feedback, why do we tend to fixate on the one negative comment?

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Lori Allen

    This is really good Tim. I think we languish over the one negative comment because we desire the acceptance of others and we want to prove to them and to ourselves that we are good at what we do. I’m 48 and I still really struggle with this. Appreciate the post.

    • tim milburn

      Thanks for your input here Lori. Acceptance and belonging validate our efforts. I wonder if the struggle will still be present…even at 88.

  • Troy

    Hi Tim,

    that is a great post and I like the way you broke it down. One thing I do with subjective feedback is to look at the source of the feedback. Criticism from someone I respect will have more weight than criticism from someone I do not.

    I stumbled on your blog about 2 months ago when I came across your MPOW, since then I have been an avid reader. thanks.
    Troy

    • tim milburn

      Troy. So glad you found your way here and have stuck around. I am soooo grateful for “avid” readers. Your attention is a gift. If there is anything I can do to assist you, please don’t hesitate to ask.