Dealing With Negative Feedback About Your Podcast

There’s no doubt about it, being a podcaster means putting yourself ‘out there’. It’s your thoughts, your voice and your view on life that you’re presenting to the world.

To be good at podcasting, you need to be fairly transparent, prepared to share some personal stories and let your guard down. All these traits go a long way to helping your audience get to know you. And once they do what they’ll give you in return is loyalty, support and that famous F word that makes all podcasters shudder… FEEDBACK.

Getting Feedback Can Be Nerve Racking

In my job as a Radio DJ I get both positive and negative feedback on my work behind the microphone. And this might happen when someone stops me in the hall, when I catch up with family, even when I go onto the street. Feedback comes with the territory of being a public personality, and it’s the same with podcasting. Like it or not, you are a public personality.

In the early days of my career, when I felt like someone was about to serve up some feedback, I would always ‘brace for impact’. It didn’t matter if it turned out to be encouraging feedback or vicious feedback, I would always assume the worst.

The reason I freaked out at any kind of feedback (good or bad) is because I was a complete perfectionist. I honestly believed that “I knew best”. So if someone gave me negative feedback I’d freak, and if someone gave me positive feedback I’d still freak. Odd huh?

But obviously what did the most damage was the negative feedback. You know the type … comments like “I didn’t like your opinion on that”, or “I can’t believe you did this, it totally sucked”. Ouch.

So how did I deal with this feedback? Pretty easily, I instantly moved into a defensive position and dismissed the feedback right away. I’d either write the feedback off as the mumblings of a crackpot, or someone that just didn’t know what they were talking about. Whatever technique worked best to protect my ego.

But these days I’m a lot more seasoned in my approach to feedback. Instead of seeing negative feedback as a personal attack I see it as a chance for growth.

If I get a bit of negative feedback about my Radio show in my in-tray I don’t instantly slump over the keyboard and lament my actions. Instead I try and read through the feedback with an open mind and ask myself “is this true?” If the answer is ‘yes’ then I know I have some work to do, perhaps a change in my methods, a tweak here and there or maybe even a full-scale renovation. The key here is I don’t just dismiss it right away, I allow the feedback to penetrate so I can weight it up and determine it’s worth.

But make no mistake, this isn’t an easy process. You have to be vulnerable and honest with yourself. But if you want to see growth in your podcast and yourself as a person, it’s worth it.

Of course the other extreme that I’ve seen heaps of Radio DJ’s do, is to pander to feedback. They’re so busy trying to please everyone that ultimately their product really suffers. But as the wise saying goes, “you can’t be all things to all men”.

If I were to run around changing things on my Radio show for every email complaint I get I’d have a show that changes from one minute to the next. I’d be like a cork in the ocean, knocked about by the incoming waves. So I guess what I’m saying here is that all feedback needs to be weighed for it’s worth, but not all feedback needs to be taken on board.

It’s sad to say but there are people out there who are intrinsically negative. Who will bash out a complaint email because they’ve got nothing better to do. But then there are those folks who generally want to let you know how you can make your podcast better. The skill is being able to spot the difference between the two.

These days I must admit, I still panic when I see an email in my inbox with the subject line ‘Feedback’, but I’m slowly learning.

To get started on your own professional sounding podcast  download a copy of Dan’s new FREE report “Podcast Like A Radio DJ”. Get it here!


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