Why You Shouldn’t Fear Audience Rejection: Embracing The Naysayers


We all have critics. Let’s discuss how we can turn those critics into our personal coaches and transform that fear into fuel: 

Fear of audience rejection is a common concern, especially for those of us who frequently present our ideas to the public. But what if I told you that the very critics you fear could become your most invaluable coaches?




Feedback Is Neutral – We Give It Color 🎨

Our first stop on this journey involves understanding the nature of feedback.

In its most basic form, feedback is neutral. It’s an objective commentary on our work or behavior. The emotions we often associate with feedback, be it anger, frustration, or elation, stem from our interpretation of it, not the feedback itself.

In a fascinating study by the University of Toronto, researchers found that our emotional responses are often tied more to the perceived emotional intent behind the feedback rather than the feedback itself (Kross, Ayduk, & Mischel, 2005). Recognizing this can allow us to view feedback in a more dispassionate and constructive light.

Effective Speakers Crave Feedback – Even The Sharp Ones🌵

Effective speakers know the value of feedback – they seek it out constantly.


They understand that to improve, they must know what they are doing well and what needs work. Feedback, even when it stings, is a tool for improvement, not a personal attack. In the words of Hattie & Timperley (2007), “Feedback is one of the most powerful influences on learning and achievement”.

The best speakers don’t shy away from criticism – they lean into it, knowing it’s the fastest route to improvement.

Pay Attention To Repetitive Feedback – It’s Trying To Tell You Something🔍

Our final point addresses the importance of repetitive feedback.


If different people are continually giving you the same feedback, even if it feels harsh, there’s likely a grain of truth in it. Repetitive feedback can signal an area of your work that requires improvement. Research from the Harvard Business Review confirms this, asserting that persistent feedback often highlights authentic issues that need to be addressed (Berg, 2018).


Instead of fearing audience rejection, we should view it as an opportunity for growth and improvement.


By reframing feedback as a neutral tool for learning, constantly seeking it out, and paying attention to its patterns, we can turn our critics into our coaches. And in doing so, we can overcome our fear of audience rejection, becoming better, more effective communicators in the process.

Let’s start viewing our critics as unwitting allies on our journey to becoming fearless speakers. After all, growth happens outside our comfort zone.

Check out my Youtube video on this topic:

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