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10 Tips to Manage Criticism

Sometimes it seems like everyone’s a critic and you’re standing in the middle of the circle with a target on your forehead.

As much as we’d all like to give them a good punch in the nose, we can’t. It’s unprofessional, it might damage your reputation, and who has money for bail these days? Besides, chill out, what harm can they really do?

hate

And who knows – maybe they’re right. Maybe those pants do make your butt look big. Wouldn’t you rather know it now, before you go out in public?

  1. Consider the source: I have a friend who absolutely despises a certain website’s business practices and she’s constantly criticizing me for using their affiliate links on one of my blogs. But I just “consider the source.” I know she’s not really criticizing me, and I know why she’s upset with the advertiser. Consider the source, they may only know one side of the story – if that.
  2. Ignore it: It’s not the best solution but if you’re tired of somebody criticizing you all the time just turn around and walk away. At least you won’t end up in jail.
  3. Pretend it was your idea: Sometimes those critical people just don’t know when to stop and you just get so tired of hearing it. Just say, “Yeah, I thought of that yesterday. I’ve already started implementing that change.” Better yet – “Yeah. I already tried that and it flopped.” (You can only use that one though if you already know they’re wrong.)
  4. Accept it “graciously: Put on your biggest smile and just really kiss their butt. Go overboard with the thanks. They’ll get the message and shut up. Or maybe they won’t. But then you can laugh because they were too stupid to get your sarcasm.
  5. Accept it sincerely: Admit it. Sometimes they’re right. Accept their criticism with sincere gratitude and make a concerted effort to change your ways.
  6. Don’t take it personally: Most critics don’t say, “I hate you so I think your blog is stupid.” (If they do then they’re not critics, they’re bullies. Stupid bullies, at that.) They’re not criticizing you, they’re criticizing your work.
  7. Weight it: Is it worth listening to? Will listening have an effect on your business? Is it something you even need to be concerned about? If someone says, “I don’t like the shade of blue you used in your header.” you might be tempted to completely redesign it, even though it’s not necessary and it won’t have any effect on your business.
  8. Can you fix it? I’ve had people tell me I need to put my URLs at the top of the search results so my blog would be easier to find. (I know! Sometimes ya just gotta laugh!) Well, I wish all my URLs were at the top of the index, too, but there’s not much I can do about it other than keep on building those links. I can’t just call Google and say, “Hey! One of my readers wants you to rearrange the index!” If you can’t fix it, forget it.
  9. Ask for it: The reason criticism has such a negative emotional effect is because it’s not usually something we ask for – people just dump it on your head. Here! Here’s a big bucket of What-I-Don’t-Like-About-Your-Blog! But if you’re proactive and you ask people for a critique then you’re more open to suggestion. So don’t wait for criticism – ask for it.
  10. Own it: Tell that lady you have no intention of changing the blue in your header. It does the job. You like it. And you have more important things to take care of. Step up and own it and critics usually back down.
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4 Comments (Add one)

  1. Julia Spencer

    Sometimes there are such moments when the ideal variant is to ignore such critical remarks and not to pay attention on them at all. But not everyone of us can manage to do it

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Just take a deep breath and move on ;)

  2. Georgia
    Georgia

    The best answer, I think is to just not take the criticism personally – and make sure you truly understand what they are saying, rather than making any assumptions. I’ve found, at times, that I am misunderstanding the communication, and their efforts to share their thoughts both good and bad, are just that. Sometimes, it just isn’t criticism.

    1. Sté Kerwer

      Thanks for your comment Georgia. You’re right about this… Sometimes people see drama where there is absolutely none.