TALKTIPS DAY 22: Feedback Might Sting a Little

Feedback can sting sometimes. But it can help you if you’ll let it.

Amidst a stack of really, really positive feedback from a talk I gave last year called “#NoExcuses”, the one that stood out the most read, “This talk was really, really not for me.” Initially, I was disappointed that it missed the mark for this person. One line of something other than “So good!” captured my attention enough to almost disregard all the clearly positive feedback. I processed this line as negative feedback until I really started thinking about it more. Maybe it wasn’t intended to be negative, but rather a simply honest assessment. And very politely put, at that. The topic is definitely not going to strike a chord with everyone in attendance at a tech conference. It’s always risky doing talks about life stuff at conferences that are more about code stuff. I know this going in. Fortunately, more times than not, including this time, the comments are overwhelmingly positive and confirm that I’ve hit on a topic that isn’t talked about enough at trade-skills conferences. If that were not the case, I’d go back to more tactical/skills based talks. Right now, I’ll continue pushing and exploring my own topic boundaries and the majority of feedback says I’m moving in the right direction.

While not-so-positive feedback is a reality of this line of work (and most lines of work where you put things you create out into the world), feedback is there to help you grow. It’s better to put your ideas/thoughts/work out into the world than not. I have received a ton of useful, constructive feedback. It helps! To date, I’ve not had anything terribly brutal or troll-ish. I’ll cross those bridges when/if I arrive at them. I’ve been lucky that folks that don’t have anything nice to say, seem to not say anything. ;) I’m genuinely grateful for all feedback. It’s up to me to decide how I process it.

Today’s tip: Honest feedback may sting a little, but it will make you better if you allow it to.

Jaimee Newberry is COO at MartianCraft, a professional experimenter, speaker and writer who lives, learns and fumbles out loud. She’s the founder of , co-host of the tinychallenges podcast, and an advocate for women in tech. She’s also the independent mother of two girls and two cats, and girlfriend of a beautiful, shy man who likes to remain mostly anonymous. More at

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