Why You Should Never Start Feedback With “Don’t Take This Personally?”

20 - The quality of your attention - SBSWhen you are building relationships and growing a business change is the one thing that is constant and learning to communicate with clarity and confidence when you are frustrated or annoyed is important.

One sure thing that will set you up to fail is starting with the sentence – “Don’t take this personally.” The brain doesn’t hear the don’t.

It hears “take this personally” and if you are going to give feedback then let’s face it – to some extent it is personal. For years I knew I had to be less sensitive to criticism but it is only recently that I have learned to manage my critic and discovered how you to actually receive criticism without taking it personally. So I decided to write a book which will be launched in Dec 2016.

If your intention is to communicate in a way that it is not taken personally then here are some strategies you can follow.

  1. Clarity – have absolute clarity of the outcome you do want. If you don’t want them to take it personally then what do you want instead. Maybe you want to express how you feel about something without upsetting them. Maybe you want to tell them they have done something that is wrong or that has not worked for you and you want to find a solution. But your attention really needs to be on what do you want them to do or say as a result of your communication. What do you want to change?
  2. Confidence – then consider how do you need to be to communicate with clarity and confidence your message. Often when we have a mixture of emotions our tone, pace and overal attitude can impact how our communications are received. Communicating when you are angry or frustrated invariably results in the other person simply reflecting back the same kind of behaviour or withdrawing in which case nothing is achieved. If you are interested in more information about this you might find this useful; “How to take the drama out of your communication?”
  3. Change – think about what support or resources you or they might need for change to happen.

I love the clean feedback models referred to in the book “From Contempt to Curiosity – creating the conditions for groups to collaborate”

This model helps you break down and separate the facts from the emotions.

For example if you feel someone is taking advantage of your good nature. You might say don’t take this personally but I feel you are taking advantage of my good nature.

Where as what is more useful and resourceful and less likely to be taken personally (although not guaranteed) would be;

When I work for you and you don’t pay me or say thank you, I infer that you don’t value what I do. The impact is that I feel that you are taking advantage of my good nature and I resent working and what I would like to have happen is to work with and feel valued.

The Clean Feedback framework used to acquire this were:

What I hear and see is ………..


What I infer from that is ………………….


The impact on me is ……………………….


What I would like to have happen is…………………..


By using this model you can manage your critic and communicate with clarity and confidence the change you want.

If you found this article useful let me know in the comments below. Any questions please feel free to ask and if you have any examples of when this worked that would be great to hear too.

Feel free to share below your thoughts or join us in the Facebook group Manage Your Critic – Clarity confidence and change.


About the Author – Sheryl Andrews – The Strength and Solution Detectivehow to improve listening skills

Sheryl Andrews, Founder of Step by Step Listening, is well known for fast speaking and passion to make things happen. But what many of you may not know is that in private behind closed doors she was also no stranger to lapses in self belief and an overwhelming sense of not being good enough.

That was until she learned to manage her critic and communicate with clarity and confidence the change she wanted. Sheryl runs programmes that create space for you to gain clarity of what you want and the confidence to ask for it and all the tools and resources you will need to make it happen. From planning to delegation and everything in between.

If you are struggling to be heard and understood and it is preventing you from doing your best work and living your best life then please do book a 30 minute call today with no obligation and I will happily set you up for success. Or find out more about how to manage your critic in 21 days with our on line library and webinars that explain why the critic occurs and practical ways to manage it.

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What Will Your Story Be In 2016 ?

At the beginning of the year, in fact I started on the 30th December – I produced a video every day for 10 days to share what I know and what is happening for me to plan at my best for success.


Here is the first video if you didn’t see it and if you did but you still have not actioned it, hopefully this will act as a reminder.

How did you get on with the exercise?

What will your story be for 2016?

What are the great bits of 2015 that you really should share to inspire others?

Is writing and publishing your book on your list?

If so, let me remind you that today is the last day to get the early bird discount for the Planning and Writing workshop on 6 and 7 February (aka our mini writing retreat!).

Taking place in the beautiful waterside location of Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, Hampshire with Karen Willliams I will give you time to join a small group of like-minded people who are ready to get their book written and published this year.

There is something about the energy of a group that can create so much more. Clarity, confidence and a shift that just isn’t possible on your own or even with one to one coaching.

Are you ready to get really clear on your message?

Who your book is for?

What your reader will get from reading it?

All these questions are vital if you want your book to become an effective marketing tool.

On this retreat you will be mapping out your reader’s journey and where you can take them next.

You’ll get techniques to plan your book before you write it.

As one of Karen’s clients reminded her earlier this week, an effective plan will stop you from going off at irrelevant tangents and help you to write your book quickly and easily.

When each chapter has a purpose, it will be a better read too.

On this retreat their will also be time to write and I will be there to support those who find their head getting in the way of action. Perhaps you can’t get your thoughts in line, or your fear out of the way or simple the gremlin that says who are you to write a book?

I will be there to support you through a simple process to set you up for success that you will be able to repeat time and time again.

This two days will help you get started, develop new habits and get your ‘stuff’ out of your head.

We’ll also work back from your launch date with individual milestones, so that you can see how you can make it happen.

In addition, Karen will share tips on:

  • How to get published
  • How to create a buzz about your book now before you’ve finished it ( you might have noticed me doing this :-))
  • And strategies to overcome blocks that might get in your way.

And that reminds me… As a thank you for booking, you’ll also get access to the ‘Manage your Critic’ programme for free – a 21 day intensive to discover why the critic happens and what you can do to manage it.

This is a great offer and for everyone that signs up you will get a wealth dynamics profile which will show you how to create the right support network to make things happen.

Are you ready to make it happen this year?  And if not now, when…?

I do hope you can join us and here’s the link to book your place.

Alternatively if writing a book is not on your wish list this year but conquering sensitivity to criticism is then please don’t miss Manage Your Critic starting 11th January at 1pm

Kind Regards



The Strength and Solution Detective