I recently had a humbling experience. I conducted a 3-day workshop for a client in March, and a large envelope arrived at my office shortly after. Inside were the program evaluations. Not to brag, but I’m used to the evaluations being consistently pretty favorable. This time, while 95% of them were good, there were a few that were not so great. I experienced a myriad of emotions from embarrassment to defensiveness. In short, they made me mad. They generally said that days 2 and 3 were great, while day 1 was not as effective. Now you think back to an evaluation you didn’t like and remember how you felt. You “forgot” about the remarks that were glowing and got hung up on the ones that were more negative didn’t you? Well, I did the same thing. Until I heard a voice remind me of something. My husband Larry said, “I remember that when you came home after day 1, you told me you were uncomfortable with how the day went – that you weren’t at your best.” He was right. These evaluations were actually pretty accurate in their assessment of how the day transpired.
Evaluations, if analyzed in the proper way, have value. Since I needed that reminder, I thought maybe some of you might too. Here’s what I learned:
- Try not to take it too personally. Very hard to do, but essential before you move to #2.
- Read it objectively and see if there is validity to any of what was said. Then, if yes, use the advice and observations constructively to make any necessary adjustment to your work or your style.
- When you’re done with it, or if you determine it not to have constructive value, then let it go. As speaker Doug Stevenson says, “Get over it!”