How to use Negative Feedback to your Advantage

Updated: Sep 10, 2018

Katie Cameron and Simone Sault

This is a great blog for both competitors and teachers. In our previous blog ‘How to Find Your Personal Best’, we discussed using the judge’s feedback to help set manageable goals. But what many people struggle with is exactly that; Taking ‘negative’ feedback from others and using it to create something positive.

Why is this so hard? Well, as creative human beings we are particularly driven by our emotions. Therefore, when people receive negative feedback (or what we at Dance Comp Diaries like to call ‘constructive criticism’) there are a number of ways that different types of personalities react:

  1. Anger- taking negative feedback as a personal attack, and getting angry.

  2. Denial- A state of denial means not wanting to face the feedback for fear of upset. (or anger)

  3. Blame- coming up with excuses as to why the feedback was given (once again avoiding upset or anger)

  4. Taking it Personally- taking the feedback as factual truth and beating yourself up about it.

So here’s some advice that will hopefully help you, no matter what kind of person you are...

  • Constructive criticism is NOT personal. The judges don’t know you, your background or your previous achievements. The feedback they give is purely based on what they see in the moment, which cannot be replicated. In other words, ACCEPT IT, hone it, and make necessary changes. Or at least try to... what’s the worst that can happen?

  • Remember that, even though each judge is giving you their personal opinion which is not fact, their opinion is made of years of personal development, training, professional work and knowledge of their craft. Take the time to process what they are saying... write it down in your journal. Try and understand where that advice has come from, and if you take it, what can it help you achieve.

  • Assume good intentions- Judges choose their job because they want to help artists grow. Their input is a sign that they are interested in what you are doing, and they want to help you achieve more. Therefore, the best thing to do is not jump to conclusions, or make excuses.

Maybe you didn’t completely understand what was expected of you. That’s okay... now you do.
  • Use it as a tool to help you reflect. They may have only mentioned one or two things you can do to improve, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the rest is perfect... fill in the blanks and, by doing so, you will have created your list of small, manageable goals to work on for next time.

So, next time you feel yourself getting upset or angry about ‘negative’ feedback, or want to come up with excuses for them, try re-reading these bullet points. Read them aloud. Remind yourself to take a breath, and no matter what the voice inside your head is telling you, it isn’t true.

by Stephanie Clark Porter



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