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What To Do When You Are Called Out Publicly?

What To Do When You Are Called Out Publicly?

Last week I told you about the amazing time I had with the women’s network at Procter and Gamble. It was a long-awaited event since I started talking with them before Covid! There was such joy and enthusiasm to be in person. Meeting the conference team that I had been collaborating with for so long felt like meeting a new old friends.

The morning was so interactive, it was hard to cut off the conversation and all the connections that were happening throughout the talk. So, by the afternoon, everyone knew we were all having one big conversation and people jumped right in.

The afternoon, topic was my new talk, Intentional Connection in a Hybrid World. It was only the second time I had delivered the program. With a new talk, the first few deliveries bring so much learning and evolution of the content based on the audience questions and interactions. Each time it gets a little bit better and gets a little bit more robust.

We were talking about how we show up in the Zoom room from body positions, camera angles, backgrounds, lighting and more. I had example images on the screen to generate discussion. I love learning from my audience and boy did this group deliver! Thanks to someone who had the courage to stand up and say, “Hey, this feels a little judgmental.”

When you are being called out, especially in front of over 400 people, you have a wave of panic wash over you. I took it in and responded with, “Thank you.” I said thank you for bringing up something that I needed to hear and know, to my attention. She was right.

I addressed her questions in the moment and she and I chatted after when she asked me to sign her book. I reiterated my appreciation for her comments. Although the content was relevant, the framing could have been better. And it will be the next time I deliver it. But perhaps it wouldn’t have been had somebody not shown me something I wasn’t seeing.

That’s the value of feedback.

Knowing the women of Procter and Gamble got so much value from my program, what they didn’t know how much I got from it.

What I want you all to get from me sharing this story is to appreciate and take in feedback. It is only to your benefit.

As for that woman in the blue shirt who came up to my book signing table afterward; it was me who was lucky enough to thank her personally and to thank her now, more publicly.

If you need your organization to get better at feedback, check out my course: Giving Action Oriented Feedback and my other programs. If you have attended one, share a takeaway or any feedback on how I can improve. I am listening.


Michelle Tillis Lederman, (CSP, PCC, SCC, MBA) is an expert on workplace communications and relationships. Named by Forbes as one of the Top 25 Networking Experts, and one of the Top 30 Communications Professionals in the World by Global Gurus. Michelle is a speaker, trainer, executive coach, and author of four books including The Connector's Advantage and The 11 Laws of Likability. She was invited to the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches Group, “100 Coaches Community brings together the world’s premier leadership thinkers” to seek ways to advance positive impact and give back to society. 

An executive coach, people expert, and CEO of Executive Essentials, Michelle inspires organizations and individuals to build real relationships and get real results. Having worked with fortune 500, non-profit, university and government clients she’s identified the common struggle… it’s people challenges. When asked by her young son what she does, she simply replied, “I help people work better together.” This purpose has driven her work with clients large and small including JPMorgan, J&J, Deutsche Bank, Michigan State University, MetLife, Sony, Ernst & Young, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Madison Square Garden.

She received her BS from Lehigh University, her MBA from Columbia Business School, holds the PCC designation from the International Coaching Federation, and is certified in Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching method. Executive Essentials is a certified Women Business Enterprise.

You may also contact Michelle at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule her for speaking or leadership engagements.


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