Criticism is to be expected.
Opinions are like noses, everyone has them. There is actually a less clean version of this saying, but for morality’s sake I won’t quote it.
In my line of work I get the opportunity to reply to criticism via phone calls, emails, and social media messages. Not everyone is contacting me to let me know how happy they are.
It’s natural for any person to feel bad when being criticized. It’s also a natural tendency to want to fire back with an equally cutting response. Let’s not do that.
Here are some tips to help deal with your critics.
Listen to everything they say.
Listen to everything your critic has to say without interrupting. Interrupting will only create more ill feelings and could lead to an argument. Listening doesn’t mean you agree with everything. It only means means you’re willing to take feedback.
We don’t like to be told we’re wrong. It’s true for everybody. It’s also not good to directly tell someone they’re wrong even if they are. You can’t control what people say, but you can control how you react. Be respectful if being criticized. Try not to show emotion.
Say “Thank You”.
This is the most difficult part. By now you probably want to tell them how you really feel. Instead, say something like “Thank you, it’s good to hear feedback. I’ll take it under advisement.” Is it easier said than done? You bet.
It’s ok to ask additional questions like “Why do you feel this way?”, or “What makes you think that?” You just want to keep the dialogue upbeat and peaceful. Most of the time I’m responding to emails or social media messages.
My messages tend to follow along the lines of:
“Thanks so much for contacting us. I’m sorry you’re experiencing this issue… Please give me a call as I’d like to gather some more information. Here’s my direct number…”
Here are a few points to end with. If you truly are wrong, admit to it quickly. Even if you’re not technically wrong, evaluate what your critic said. Are their opinions actually valid and worth considering?
Criticism isn’t easy to take, but knowing how to keep your cool will help in many of life’s unpleasant situations.