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A Guide To Receiving Feedback Without Getting Defensive


Jane Ng 08 March, 2024 7 min read

In the professional world, there’s a special skill that can really make a difference: being good at receiving feedback. Whether in a performance review, a coworker’s suggestion, or even a client’s critique, feedback is the key to unlocking your potential. 

In this blog post, we’ll delve into the art of receiving feedback at work – a skill that can transform your career path and empower you. Let’s explore how you can learn not just to take feedback, but to use it to make yourself even more awesome at your job.


Best quiz type to receive feedback?Open-ended questions
What is the another word for feedback?Response
What types of quiz should I use to create a customer survey?MCQ
Overview about Receiving Feedback

Table Of Contents 

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What Is Receiving Feedback?

Receiving feedback is the way you listen to, absorb, and accept information, opinions, or evaluations about your performance, behavior, or work from others.  It’s a valuable tool for personal and professional development because it reveals your strengths, flaws, and places for improvement. 

Feedback can come from different sources, including supervisors, coworkers, friends, and even customers. It is critical to help you understand how people view your behavior and how you can make positive changes.

Why Some People Don’t Like or Fear Receiving Feedback?

Feeling uncomfortable or fearful about receiving feedback is a completely normal and widespread experience. Let’s explore a few reasons behind these reactions:

  • Bad experiences in the past. If someone was criticized or judged harshly in the past, they may be afraid of it happening again.
  • Fear of being judged. Feedback can feel like a personal attack, and it can make people feel defensive or not good enough. This fear often stems from a desire to maintain a positive self-image and protect one’s self-esteem.
  • Feeling vulnerable. Imagine it like opening up a secret box that has both good and not-so-good stuff inside. Some people don’t like that feeling.
  • Not believing in themselves. People with low self-confidence may fear feedback because they perceive it as confirming their self-doubts. They may feel that they’re being exposed as not as competent as they thought, leading to feelings of insecurity.
Image: freepik

A Guide To Receiving Feedback Without Getting Defensive

Getting feedback can be like getting a treasure map for self-improvement. But sometimes, we feel defensive. No worries, here’s your guide:

1/ Conquer Mental Barriers:

The most challenging battles often unfold within our minds. Hence, step one involves nurturing a growth mindset, an essential foundation for absorbing feedback objectively. Discover this approach in the following exercises:

  • Pause and Breathe: Take a moment. Deep breaths help you stay cool.
  • Listen First: Hear what’s said. It’s not about you, but your actions.
  • Stay Curious: Ask questions. Understand their viewpoint. It’s like a puzzle piece.
  • No Instant Replies: Avoid snapping back. Let it sink in before reacting.
  • Separate Feelings: Feedback ≠ Attack. It’s for growth, not judgment.
  • Thank and Reflect: Appreciate the feedback. Later, think about how to use it.

2/ Ask For Feedback:

Embarking on the path of growth includes seeking feedback. Take this bold step to harness its power:

  • Invite Input: Don’t hesitate—ask for feedback. Your openness ignites valuable insights. 
  • Choose the Right Time: Find a suitable moment for both parties to engage in a constructive dialogue.
  •  Specify Focus: Direct the conversation toward a particular area, allowing for targeted feedback. 
  • Active Listening: Pay close attention. Absorb the insights shared, without interrupting. 
  • Clarify and Explore: Seek clarity if needed. Dive deeper to fully understand viewpoints. 

3/ Reflect: 

Reflecting on feedback is a crucial step in the process of receiving feedback effectively. It involves taking time to thoughtfully consider the feedback you received, analyzing its validity and relevance, and then deciding how you can use it to improve your skills and performance.

Image: freepik

4/ Turn Feedback into Action: 

Pinpoint concrete steps aligned with the feedback. Craft a practical improvement strategy with attainable goals. This proactive stance showcases your dedication to personal and professional growth.

Remember, transform feedback into a tool for improvement. Leverage it to bolster skills, knowledge, and performance, propelling you forward.

5/ Express Gratitude: 

Regardless of the nature of the feedback, thank the person who provided it. Expressing gratitude shows that you value their input and are committed to continuous improvement.

Here are some examples: 

  • Positive Feedback: “Thank you for highlighting my thoroughness in the project. Your kind words motivate me to maintain this level of dedication in my work.”
  • Constructive Critique: “I appreciate your insights on my presentation. Your feedback will undoubtedly help me refine my delivery and connect better with the audience.”

6/ Practice Self-Compassion: 

Offer yourself kindness during feedback. Understand no one’s flawless; we all evolve. Embrace self-compassion, viewing feedback as growth fuel, not a self-value measure.

Image: freepik

For in-depth insights on giving feedback, explore our comprehensive How To Give Feedback Effectively. Learn the art of providing valuable input to enhance collaboration and growth.

Final Thoughts 

When receiving feedback, we can learn from our mistakes and improve our skills. We can also get insights into how others perceive us and how we can better communicate and collaborate.

And don’t forget that AhaSlides provide an opportunity to enhance our feedback-receiving prowess. Leveraging AhaSlides’ interactive features, we can engage in dynamic discussions, and meetings receive input from diverse perspectives, and refine our ability to absorb and utilize feedback effectively!


What is an example of receiving feedback?

Imagine you’ve just given a presentation at work. Your colleague approaches you afterward and says, “Great job on your presentation! Your points were clear, and you engaged the audience well. Keep up the good work!”

What is a good way to receive feedback?

A good way to receive feedback includes: conquering mental barriers, asking for feedback, reflecting with purpose, transforming feedback into actions, expressing gratitude, and practicing Self-Compassion.

What is receiving feedback?

Receiving feedback is the way you listen to, absorb, and accept information, opinions, or evaluations about your performance, behavior, or work from others. 

Ref: DecisionWise | Indeed