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How to Deal with Criticism in One Single Step

How to Deal with Criticism in One Single Step

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    Let’s say you’re a web designer, or a writer (just for the purpose of this post, so please bear with me). And you’ve just created a new website (or an article). You love it. That thing is awesome. Everything your client could ever ask for. The design – slick. The goals – achieved. The budget – not exceeded. It fits your client’s requirements hand-in-glove.

    Then you start thinking: “Wow, I’m so proud of myself right now. I need to show this thing to my best friend, even though he’s not a designer,” so you do.

    And what does that traitorous little weasel say? “It’s cool, but I don’t know… This header seems a little too minimalistic. Plus the font is not friendly enough, and I really believe it would have been so much better with a bigger logo.” Just the pat on the back you’ve been looking for…

    So what’s the first and only step of dealing with criticism?

    Don’t care. You’re not going to please everybody.

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    I know what you’re thinking, and please don’t scream at the screen. You’re thinking that while not all criticism is constructive you always have to try to extract some valid points out of it.

    Well, you don’t. Not in this case.

    First things first, let’s start with explaining why you asked for an opinion in the first place, and what was the reason behind choosing that specific person to address the question to.

    Were you really looking for an opinion or just a pat on the back?

    If you were looking for a pat on the back and you didn’t receive one then just stop right there and leave it, you really shouldn’t care. Just find someone else to ask and try again. Repeat until you get what you want. Caring too much eventually destroys your productivity even more than answering emails.

    On the other hand, if you wanted a real constructive opinion, then why did you ask someone who probably doesn’t have any knowledge in that field?

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    Let me put it this way; would you really care when someone said something like: “I think that medical diagnosis your doctor gave you is wrong! I’m not a doctor, but trust me, I know this stuff. I’ve seen three seasons of Dr. House.” … of course you wouldn’t. You know better than that.

    So here’s the lesson. If you want a valid opinion ask someone who can give you one.

    If you want a medical consultation ask a doctor. If you want a legal consultation ask a lawyer. If you want a design consultation ask a designer.

    If you ask the wrong person, well, you’ve brought it upon yourself, so now you’ll just have to deal with it. Just because someone is your friend/mom/brother/bartender doesn’t make them the right person to ask.

    I know that every now and then even a random person can give you good advice, but that’s just life. Every now and then you will find money on the sidewalk, but it doesn’t mean you should make it your new career and search for it 40 hours a week.

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    I’m sure you will get far better insights by asking just two people (or even one person) who have some experience with whatever you want to ask them about. That is, of course, if you’re looking for a real opinion. If you’re just looking for a pat on the back then go with ten random people.

    OK, moving on. What if the right person didn’t like your work either?

    Don’t give up. Follow up with that person and ask one simple question: “why?” Always ask “why”. Search for some valid points. Ask until you get an answer like: “I don’t like it because …” Search for the “because” – that’s what’s important. If the person can’t give you a “because” then:

    Don’t care. You’re not going to please everybody.

    If that’s a really valid “because,” something that forces you to think, something that’s real, and makes you feel embarrassed that you didn’t come up with it yourself, then, by all means, consider it and try to improve your project. Then get back to that person and ask for another opinion. And again – you want a “because” this time as well.

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    On the other hand, if the “because” is just silly; something like “I don’t like the green theme of the website because I prefer blue”, or “I don’t like your new furniture because mahogany is not really my thing” then:

    Don’t care. You’re not going to please everybody.

    The art of dealing with criticism is really simple. If it’s valid – care. If it’s not – don’t care, forget about it.

    What are your ways of dealing with criticism? Do you care? Tell me in the comments below!

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    Karol Krol

    Blogger, published author, and founder of a site that's all about delivering online business advice

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    Last Updated on April 6, 2020

    10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

    10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

    Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

    Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

    Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

    So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

    1. Be Authentic

    To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

    Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

    Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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    2. Listen

    Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

    To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

    Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

    Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

    3. Become an Expert

    Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

    You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

    4. Lead with Story

    From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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    If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

    5. Lead by Example

    It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

    ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

    We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

    6. Catch People Doing Good

    A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

    Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

    7. Be Effusive with Praise

    It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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    Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

    8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

    I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

    The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

    If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

    9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

    The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

    The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

    If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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    10. Understand Your Lane

    If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

    Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

    You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

    Final Thoughts

    Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

    It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

    More Tips About Making Influence

    Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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