They said what…

Called your piece of art junk did they? Oh, no…they did not just call you a liar? Told you that you’re an ineffective presenter? Bashed your book?

What do you do when criticized? Do you blow up? Fly off the handle? Get indignant? What is the proper response?
Flying off the handle, getting defensive and wanting to go on the attack are the knee jerk reactions to all criticism. It always seems hurtful, untrue and like being picked on back in grade school to those on the receiving end. There are, however, several ways to handle the criticism without making it worse by flying off the handle.
1.) Take a deep breath before speaking. Let the person have their say and then think before you speak. You don’t want to say anything that will come across as negative, hurtful or make you look rude… protect that rep! You don’t want to add fuel to the fire so count to at least 10, formulate what you’re going to say before you say it, even if it takes a while.
2.) Take the constructive parts (if there are any) to the criticism and see if you can put them into practice. Sometimes there are little nuggets of help in what is being said, though it may have been said in an incorrect way. For example if after changing my hair color to purple someone said “Oh My God what did you do to your hair?” I can probably safely assume they didn’t like it and that purple is not a good color for me. However if they were to say: “I preferred the color it was before” I still know they don’t like the hair color but it’s a better way to say it.
3.) Sometimes it is not about you. It’s about them and how hurt, angry frustrated or jealous they are. In those cases I have one word for you “forgetaboutit” … or “letitgo” … Remember if you respond immediately you might make things worse and turn things into a full blown argument so go back to #1.
4.) If you have time before responding make sure you’ve eaten and are well rested. I know if I haven’t eaten I am more likely to respond in a negative way to things that are said and that happen rather than when I’m not. Eat, sleep on it then respond if time permits.
5.) Do not respond in email. So much is lost in email, texting, etc. I believe (don’t quote me though) that statistics say that 8% of communication is the words used and that 92% are tone, body language, and facial expressions. Also as a rule never put in an email what you would not want printed on the front page of the local newspaper. Once you send out an email, you have no idea who will see it after the intended person receives it.
These are my top 5 ways to handle criticism. In Summary: Don’t take it to personally. I know the negative words stick with us and that the negative is so much easier to believe, but it is more than likely not right, after all it is just one person’s opinion.

2 Responses to “They said what…”

  1. 1 Lori Moore
    July 20, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    HALT! Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired? If any of these are applicable, now is NOT the time for serious conversation/confrontation. I love the concept of breath, sleep, eat & think. Usually if you do all those things, it just isn’t worth the energy it takes to be involved with the drama of unfair accusations/criticisms.

  2. July 21, 2009 at 4:36 am

    I so agree. I know I hear and feel things so different when I’m tired, hungry, stressed after a long day. Take the time to think before you act or speak. I know we’re all guilty of jumping to conclusions and flying into defensive mode (hey with all that jumping and flying maybe i’ll lose some weight????)but try your best to keep it at a minimum.

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