How To Receive Feedback

This may be a generalization but I stand by it. No one likes to be told what they are doing wrong. 

Negative feedback often makes us feel threatened (Oh no I’m going to get fired!). And in 2020, if you’re receiving negative feedback, no matter how “constructive,” you might start to spin out. It’s only natural. Oh no I’m going to get fired!

When we feel threatened, even if it’s only our ego that is threatened, our nervous system’s fight-or-flight response is triggered and we typically do one of four things —

  1. Prove: It got tons of likes on social media.
  2. Protect: It’s my show. 
  3. Defend: I thought it was great.
  4. Hide: No time to meet today, sorry! 

Any time you find yourself proving, protecting, defending or hiding – your ego is actively working to prove you right. What if there were another way?

Instead, take ownership of the feedback, and your response in the moment:

  • Pause and take a breath.
  • Ask for more information. Magic words: SAY MORE. 
  • Buy yourself time to stay calm by repeating the feedback and asking for confirmation. Is that right? 
  • Stay in the present moment. Remind yourself of your zones of genius. You are a person with good qualities. This feedback does not negate all that you are.
  • Find areas where you can agree.
  • Notice where both points of view may be true. Avoid black and white. Embrace shades of gray.

Extra Credit: Earn points with your boss by being pro-active. I worked with one host who hated meetings with his PD because he felt she always nitpicked him. He had to sit there and listen to her bring up the same points, and he wasn’t even sure she had listened to much of his work since the last meeting. Here’s how he agreed to approach her:

  • Take notes and review major points at the end of the meeting.
  • Be proactive between meetings by sending your PD audio or questions to demonstrate you are working on the feedback. They will be grateful that you’re engaged in your development and their vision for the station’s success.
  • In the next meeting, take charge a little. Bring up the action points from the last meeting and share your progress (and any challenges you’ve had). Ask questions; bring ideas. Hold them accountable for what they committed to as well, respectfully.

When he adopted these techniques, their relationship improved and he started looking forward to their meetings, which became more creative and collaborative. Happy ending!

And here’s your homework in self-study: Notice what types of situations are triggering for you. What beliefs are you holding onto about yourself (e.g. I’m not good enough)? Do the work to heighten your emotional self-awareness and release stories that may not be true.

Because ultimately, it’s when you feel confident in yourself and secure in what you have to offer that feedback becomes a welcome tool for your development and not a reminder of how you’ll never amount to anything.

And BONUS: Emotional intelligence, confidence and compassion are excellent qualities for air personalities!

I’m here to help if you have any questions or would like to discuss coaching. Reach me at angela@angelaperelli.comand feel free to send me feedback on whether this article was helpful for you.

Angela Perelli
Founder & CEO, Angela Perelli Coaching.

Angela Perelli is award-winning former programmer for the iconic KIOI/San Francisco and groundbreaking KYSR (Star 98.7)/Los Angeles. As Program Director of Star 98.7, she managed some of the biggest personalities in the country — Jamie White & Danny Bonaduce; Ryan Seacrest & Lisa Foxx; Frosty, Heidi & Frank as well as VH-1’s Dr. Jenn Berman, MTV’s Mark Goodman and Richard Blade.

Seven years as VP/Talent Development at the Randy Lane Company laid the groundwork for the launch of Angela Perelli Coaching in 2014, including coaching Lisa & Eric on K-LOVE and Mike & Jeannie on Air1. Now she works with shows across the US and Canada, from market #2 to market #240, in all types of formats, including Jerry & Blanca and Johnny & Stacey on WGTS/Washington, D.C.

Angela loves to focus on the things she finds most rewarding — teaching, developing, collaborating and creating. Adding life coaching skills, Angela helps radio personalities find their voice, hone their story, and become so much better than before.

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