Effective Feedback II— How to receive feedback

Chris Nicol
3 min readMay 6


In part one, we discussed how feedback is a gift that helps people grow and improve. We talked about how to give that gift effectively. This article will focus on the other side of the feedback equation — how to receive feedback effectively.

Importance of Feedback

Before diving into how to receive feedback, let’s recap why this stuff is so important. Feedback is a gift. Yep, there’s the first cliche of this article. The fact is, it’s a cliche for a reason. Both reinforcing and constructive feedback are the path to fast-track our growth and development.

How to Receive Feedback

Receiving feedback is not always easy, especially when it’s critical. As humans, we have a natural tendency to be defensive and resist feedback. If you can truly learn to receive feedback effectively, you will be able to harness the power of that feedback. Here are some strategies to help you receive feedback effectively:

Recognise the moment — this is a gift

When someone gives you feedback, they invest their time and energy to help you grow. Realize this is a gift, and the person giving you feedback wants to see you improve.

Truly listen

It’s crucial to listen actively. Give the person your undivided attention and focus on what they’re saying. We often make the mistake of listening to respond. Don’t listen to respond; listen to learn.

Be curious

In the moment, responding won’t help us. We can always respond later if we have to. Instead, ask questions to understand the feedback better. Seek clarification and examples to help you understand the person’s perspective.

Change in behaviour

Our goal is actionable feedback. Look for actionable steps that you can take to improve. Focus on the behaviour, not the person. Feedback is not a personal attack; it’s an opportunity to strengthen your actions.

Asking for Feedback

Getting feedback isn’t always easy. How often have you got two thumbs up and “Keep up the great work”? That kind of feedback isn’t helpful at all. Here are some tips on how to get effective feedback:

Be specific

Ask for feedback on a specific task or behaviour. This will help the person giving feedback provide targeted and actionable insights.

  • How could I have run that meeting better?
  • What made my approach effective for you?
  • What would make the communication clearer for you?


Always ask for feedback on something that happened recently. This will ensure that the feedback is fresh in the person’s mind, and you can take action immediately.

Guide them

Don’t just put all the effort on the other person; guide them on what kind of feedback you want. For example, if you’re working on your public speaking skills, ask for feedback on your delivery or presence.

How to Respond

After receiving feedback, it’s essential to respond effectively. When you respond correctly, you’re creating a positive experience that will encourage more feedback in the future. Here are some critical things to remember:

Say thank you

It seems obvious, but too many people forget this. A genuine moment of gratitude makes a huge difference. Thank the person for their feedback, and acknowledge their effort to help you improve.

Show how you’ll implement it

Demonstrate you are taking the feedback seriously by outlining how you’ll implement it. This shows that you’re committed to growth and development.

Correction or defence

If you need to correct or defend yourself, wait until the next day to address it. This will give you time to process the feedback and respond more constructively.

In conclusion, receiving feedback is an essential part of growth and development. By approaching feedback with an open mind and using the abovementioned strategies, you can uncover blind spots, become more self-aware, and improve your behaviours.

Remember, feedback is a gift, so embrace and use it to your advantage.



Chris Nicol

VP of Product @ Hubble | Product Leader & Coach