How to Accept Feedback Graciously and Effectively

I know you don’t like to get feedback and hear criticism; I don’t either.

Unfortunately, we need constructive criticism and helpful feedback for growth and improvement. Fortunately, you can take steps to improve how you accept that feedback.

Anxious about your next performance review, customer comment, or editor’s notes? Here’s what you can do to accept feedback gracefully:

question mark written on blackboard

1. Ask questions. You want to get the experience over with as soon as possible, but it’s important to understand the feedback so you can respond appropriately. This may include asking for specific examples of either desirable or undesirable actions.

2. Avoid getting defensive. Giving feedback is not much easier than receiving it, and defensiveness only makes it harder. Hear the person out, holding back the urge to defend yourself, get angry, or make excuses. Watch your body language, as well, including your posture or facial expressions, to stay open and approachable.

try not to argue or get defensive when hearing criticism

3. Thank and acknowledge. As difficult as it may be, it’s important to acknowledge the person giving the feedback. Deliberately, calmly thank them for taking the time and effort to share their perspective. You don’t have to agree with what they said, but let your colleague know you value their thoughts.

4. Address your emotions—elsewhere. An emotional response to negative feedback is perfectly normal, but there are right and wrong ways to deal with it. Exercising, venting to a friend or spouse, journaling, even crying in your car on the drive home can help. To address the feedback, you must first address your emotional response.

after hearing feedback take care of and responsibility for your emotions

5. Check with others. If you have serious doubts about the feedback you received, ask others if they agree. Be sure not to frame it as gossip or an opportunity to justify yourself. If other people agree with the feedback, that could indicate a real need for change.

6. Follow up. Once you’ve had some time to apply the feedback you received, follow up with the person who provided it. Talk about how things have been going so far and as for additional input. This not only improves the situation, but your relationship with that person.

Good communication is important for any organization. I work with many different organizations on their marketing content and communications to share information, ideas, and stories more effectively. Send me an email or visit my website at to learn more about what I can do for you.

As always, thanks for reading. If you find this post helpful, or know someone who would, share away!

1 thought on “How to Accept Feedback Graciously and Effectively

  1. Good advice. It isn’t always fun to hear criticism, but it’s helpful in the end.

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