5 Smart Tips to Better Handle Criticisms

by Friday, 27 March 2015

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” — Bill Cosby

When you put out your ideas to the world and share it with others, there will almost always be somebody out there who will question your style and credibility. Let’s face it, no company or person is perfect. Criticism is something we all have to deal with every day of our lives. Whether you’re out there hustling to make a living or just at home doing nothing, someone will still kick your butt. No one is free from these people whose hobby is to throw remarks, good or bad, to others during their spare time.

Negative reviews can be really painful and can sometimes be destructive. One wrong impulsive move can make or break you. Knowing the smart ways to handle criticisms are essential know-hows to include in your arsenal.

Below are some tips you can follow:

1. Listen and Filter
“Criticism is something you can easily avoid by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”

Before you even activate one single brain cell in your head, determine whether it is a legitimate or just an inflammatory feedback thrown by the sadistic group called “Trolls”, who enjoys seeing others in distress. Their goal is to derail interesting discussions in favor of an epic but meaningless flame war.

Troll defined:
“A troll is a person online whose intentions are to cause disruption and/or to trigger or exacerbate conflict for the purposes of their own amusement.”

Remarks from these trolls should not stop you from taking action. The best strategy is to ignore and move on. Don’ fall into their trap. Don’t feed the trolls!

Identifying the legitimate feedback from the ones thrown by trolls early on is a skill every entrepreneur must have. Learning to spot these messages fast in the comments section of your post and eliminating them instantly will help you reduce most your anxiety issues. Lingering about a destructive criticism not only depletes the energy you need to achieve your goals but is also a complete waste of time. Save the time and energy on more serious matters and focus on what is important.

2. It’s not about you.
“Ignore all hatred and criticism. Live for what you create, and die protecting it.” — Lady Gaga

Thinking that a criticism is an attack against you as a person is one of the biggest mistakes we can make as an entrepreneur.  It’s important that we need to separate ourselves from a criticism. It’s not about us. Look at it as a reaction towards an action, situation or an event. Dwelling on negative thoughts is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do for the moment, but it gets you know where.  Legitimate feedback should help us improve our craft, not destroy us.

A great example is when somebody says, “your style of teaching is boring”, then it is important to understand that this is not a criticism of the person who teaches but it’s about the style of teaching.

By understanding that even the best teachers in the industry can sometimes teach boring classes or subjects, this will help you be more objective and forget about taking a criticism personally. Then, responding to the criticisms should be a lot easier.

If you practice seeing criticism as feedback about an action you did, and not feedback about who you are, then you will be able to start taking these remarks less personally.

3. Delay your reaction.
Learning how to manage your anger can be the best asset you can possess as an entrepreneur. It is the key to resolving conflicts and is an essential skill to nurture peace among others. Communicating flaming words over anyone is unhealthy, unproductive, and can even tarnish your reputation if not handled well.

If you’re at a level where your anger is uncontrollable, choose to deal with the issue at a later time. Nothing beats a peaceful, calm manner of resolving an issue even when you’re not talking face to face with the person.

If you are new in the arena, it is a must to vet your comments before reacting negatively to the hater. Humans are really bad at disconnecting emotions from our reasoning. The human brain reacts emotionally long before it starts thinking about what it’s reacting to. That is why it is important to take a deep breath, take your time, and think before you even open your mouth or touch that keyboard.

4. Make it right.
“Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice. — Bob Goff

Probably one the most difficult decisions you will make when somebody criticizes your work is to acknowledge your mistake. When you are confronted with a situation like this, it is wisest to thank the pundit for his criticism. Acknowledging their point without being defensive may be the best antidote to address the issue. Your statement can go something like this.

“Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts on how the event was organized. We acknowledge that there were some technical difficulties with the President’s speech… We sincerely apologize…”

When readers encounter a negative review, they will see the thoughtful response from you. Kill them with kindness. Re-framing a negative criticism into something positive, not only makes you look professional, it also opens new opportunities for you and the client (and even the readers). Thanking the critic and acknowledging their point is disarming.

5. Keep moving forward.
No amount of euphemism can protect you from haters. Good or bad, people will criticize you either way. Critics only criticize people who exude excellence. They don’t go for the mediocre. So, treat it as a complement.

Like in any other sports arena, the smart way handle this is,
“Ignore the Boos. They usually come from the cheap seats.”

Focus on your vision. Don’t mind what other people say. Do what you believe is right.

Has somebody ever told you that your style of writing or teaching sucks? How did you handle the situation? What steps did you take to correct the problem? I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Jovel Cipriano
Jovel’s 20 years of experience in the field of IT and Entrepreneurship is the driving force behind his successes. He is a sought after authority in the fields of Entrepreneurship, E-commerce, Internet Marketing, and Export. This ex-IBMer has earned global recognitions from the WTO, APEC, and the UN. He graduated from the University of the Philippines with a double degree in Computer Science and in Tourism. In his spare time, Jovel enjoys adventure sports, such as scuba diving, mountaineering, and kayaking. He loves traveling and exploring exotic local cuisines.