Listening to Feedback

We have all been there. The concert just started. We are really excited because our favorite performer just got on stage. They start singing one of our favorite songs and right at that perfect moment in the song, SQUEAAACHHH!!

Feedback.

Ew. The hair stands up on our skin. We feel gross. Our perfect experience has been ruined by this terrible sound. If the sound engineer is really great, he or she knows exactly where in the frequency range that pitch is. They instantly proceed to the graphic eq on the master faster and turn that frequency down.

It takes a high level of skill to be able to listen for feedback and identify the truth in it and respond appropriately. It takes a bit of practice to hear tones and identify their place in the frequency range. Once one does though, it is a lot like riding a bike, you can’t really forget it.

I contend that listening to constructive feedback is similar. When we work hard on a project and we amplify it and broadcast it to our network, we receive feedback from our audience. At first, it feels much like the feedback on a stage. Awful. We recoil at the sound of feedback. It hurts us to know that someone is critical of our work. Those who want to turn pro push into the awful sound. They listen deeper. They strive to understand what it means. They make the correct adjustments so the feedback becomes the pleasant sound of pure amplification.

We always have to get better at this. Just like the sound engineer needs to get faster and faster at identifying any defect in the sound coming through the speakers and correcting it, we all need to get better and better at hearing feedback.

Of course, what I am pointing out here is something very difficult. It is hard when those who are closest to us tell us the truth. That they didn’t understand us or didn’t really love our piece. But when we get feedback like that, it is actually love. It is our friends and loved ones telling us that they know how great we are and holding us to our own standard. To be more perfect. More excellent.

I would encourage all of us to look at our lives and see if we are angry at someone for giving feedback. Maybe they said it wrong. Maybe they need feedback as well. But they will never hear you over your inability to correct your own feedback issues. Whatever the case, it’s up to us to make adjustments until the feedback changes. The person amplifying us and giving us feedback is not necessarily responsible for the feedback, we need to start with ourselves. At least I think we should take this frame or lens. Then, if there needs to be a feedback loop to reflect back poor methodology in the way the feedback was presented, it can be done.

Receiving feedback is tough. But the world will be a better place tas we get better at receiving it.

Enjoy your day with Peace, Love and Rock’n’Roll!

Jesse Barney