"#6: Anne said 'yeah' 107 times in the second half of her presentation."
I let out another "pssshhhhht" as I read #6 of the 10 items the seminar attendee had written in complaint about me on the e-mail to the person who hired me to deliver the Emotional Intelligence workshop. "What does she know?"
A few days later, I was delivering another presentation on Conquering those Challenging Conversations, and I heard it.
Someone shared an idea. "YEAH!"
Someone answered a question. "YEAH"
Someone offered how a concept could be used. "YEAH"
YEAH YEAH YEAH...89, 90, 91...I even started counting them myself. OH NO...she was right!
I dug the e-mail out of my deleted box, and re-read the 10 items. While a bunch of them were not helpful, there were 2-3 items on there that, while perhaps delivered with malice, would actually make me a better speaker.
How often do we write off feedback when we're stung by it? We receive it from our boss, our co-workers, our spouse, or whoever, and we're so put off that once we're out of the situation, we forget about that uncomfortable moment as quickly as we can.
But how many valuable improvement opportunities are we missing because we're not willing to take a critical look at ourselves. The perspectives of others can be a really helpful insight into how we're being perceived. How we're perceived can impact our careers, our team's motivation, our friendships, our relationships at home and so many more things that are very important to us.
So next time you're stung by some feedback, ask yourself, "How could this help me be a stronger player in this relationship/job/company/world? How could I use this to get better results in my life?"
Sometimes the answer is going to be "I can't use this. This isn't helpful, so I'm just going to let it go." (like item #4 in the e-mail, "Anne should have told another seminar attendee that wearing flip flops was inappropriate in a work setting." Yeah....NOT MY JOB!)
But sometimes you'll find valuable insights that you can use. It'll still sting, (especially if it doesn't feel like it was delivered with positive intentions) but it you use it to improve yourself, what sweeter revenge is that!
Good luck. You've got this, you emotionally intelligent genius.