UNSOLICITED Feedback Revisited Yet AGAIN

My dislike and dismay of unsolicited feedback— which has been euphemized as “constructive criticism”— is well-known to my readers, my audiences and to my friends. I first wrote about that feckless phenomenon over two decades ago and each year my feelings get stronger. Every story told to me by someone who had the wind knocked out of their sails by some alleged “well-meaning” friend confirms my thoughts. Those who feel compelled to tell us how to work, feel, think, dress, eat, converse,speak,invest—WHEN WE HAVE NOT ASKED FOR THEIR OPINION —are mean- spirited, condescending bullies.

When have we ever felt better after someone tells us something “for our own good”? IF a performance review requires some feedback that needs to be addressed, the savvy superior knows how to phrase the commentary so that it is HEARD, internalized and creates improvement. As a speaker, I get evaluated after every speech by people who have had fights with a spouse or an offspring or were enraged by the person who cut into their lane of traffic or learned their company was bought and anticipate layoffs due to redundancy. Any one of those situations —and many others —will color one’s feedback especially if guaranteed the anonymity that turns rational people into “trolls”.

I solicit advice in my speaking business, my authorial life and my personal life. But I ask for feedback from people whom I trust about life itself. Several friends give me decorating ideas, others share hints worthy of Heloise (how to get stains out of cotton, the best way to pack toiletries and how to keep my lipstick on my lips and not on napkins). Another friend gives me financial advice because I (drum roll please—here is the bottom-line) ASK for the help. Get it? When I ask, I want to know what you think. When I don’t ask…I am not interested.
Excellent advice from Amy Morin includes six ways you can handle, deflect, respond to unsolicited feedback.
Please spare us those unasked opinions —as that is all they are. You may feel others will benefit from your words, ideas and suggestions and that they must hear them. No, we must not!

Some of you may feel that I am being too sensitive to this issue. Just wait till you get a mouthful from one of these know-it-alls. Let me know how it feels.

About Susan RoAne

Susan RoAne leads a double life as a sought-after professional keynote speaker and a bestselling author. Known as The Mingling Maven®, she gives diverse audiences the required tools, techniques and strategies they need to connect and communicate in today’s global business world. The San Francisco Chronicle says she has a “dynamite sense of humor.” To hire Susan to speak for your company, association or college, 1.415.461.3915