Showing My Work: The Ugly

I train customers on our products. We do this by providing elearning followed by a facilitated virtual classroom.

Last week I got my first HORRIBLE reviews on my facilitation skills. I know, it happens.

me really2I ask you, who wants to hear about their flaws?

Not me!

In my happy place, I’m convinced that I am sheer perfection!

However, showing your work and sharing your learning is predicated on one inescapable fact:

You are not perfect

My brain’s response: “Whatever. Says who?”

Then I asked my brain, “But brain…what if it’s true? What if…*gasp*… I’m not perfect?”

I spent all weekend thinking about the reviews. Some feedback I dismissed: there isn’t a thing I could do about the technical issues on their end. Some feedback was fair such as the comments about my facilitation style.

The end result:

  • Spoke with our Customer Success team and asked them to reach out to our customer to offer a do-over
  • Pledged to myself to “rein it in” for the quiet attendees. My style isn’t for everyone, and I need to adapt to provide the best learning experience for my customers
  • Emailed customer directly to talk w/them about their technical issues

Here is what I learned:

  • Bad reviews happen.
  • Not everyone will like you and that’s OK.
  • I need to reflect on feedback, and determine if it is valid. If it is just ranting, then it’s not feedback.
  • Bad isn’t always bad.
  • Bad is your chance to reflect on what you’re doing, and change if needed. Try it.
  • Receivers of feedback are going to get defensive. It’s a human reaction.
  • We need to help feedback receivers move beyond their feelings so they can hear the other person’s feelings.

I still ABHOR bad evaluations. I dread that sinking feeling in my stomach. I’m human, I expect this.

About Tricia Ransom

Patricia Ransom: wife, daughter, friend. Learning, laughing, living. Chicago, Illinois, downstate. Townie, urbanite, traveller. Note: The opinions expressed on this blog belong solely to me and should not be assumed to reflect the opinions of any of my employers past, current, or future.
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4 Responses to Showing My Work: The Ugly

  1. Bad feedback is so personal, no matter how hard you try to receive it professionally and with grace. I have had great evaluations in many situations, for instance, teaching in the classroom for the Air Force, but I receive extremely critical (and not entirely constructive) evals at ASTD events. To the extent that a few years ago, I stopped submitting session proposals. Evidently, I don’t control the room, and generally, ASTD participants seem to think I’m a train wreck. So you can guess what kind of courage I am needing to find to submit a proposal for next ICE! Imagine my surprise when yesterday, a new friend told me she thinks I have a wonderful voice! She described it as soft and engaging. I think when working through the negative feedback, you have to find the strengths as well, and look at how you can build upon those.


    • Tricia Ransom says:

      There are times when I actually help guide feedback. I got low ratings once because of my height. I’m short. Nothing is going to change about that, so I ignored it. I got low ratings another time because I’m a pacer. I need to walk while I talk. They wanted me to stand at the lectern. I thought about it, because you really need to evaluate feedback. I thought about it, and decided that if I droned from a lectern for a SIX HOUR course, everyone in the room would be asleep in 20 minutes…including me 🙂


  2. This is a great and brave reflective exercise! It’s hard to accept that we aren’t perfect. How dare the people tell us we aren’t wearing any clothes? Getting feedback is key, getting constructive feedback even better. Might I suggest you record the next webinar and listen back, not just to your voice/tone etc. but to the responses (or lack thereof) of the participants. Did you just tell a joke that you thought fit, but after listening back all you’re hearing is awkward silence? This is way video taping presentations is so valuable. But this kind of exercise is good for all things, like having a member of your #PLN read your posts before they go out… *wink*


    • Tricia Ransom says:

      Now this is feedback that I can apply RIGHT NOW! See what I mean about Shannon? This is how she helped me grow and become better. She’d say “Nnniiiiccceee! How about blah blah blah?”


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