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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 February 11, 2021

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

    How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

    Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

    The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

    Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

    Perceptual Barrier

    The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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    The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

    The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

    Attitudinal Barrier

    Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

    The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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    The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

    Language Barrier

    This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

    The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

    The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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    Emotional Barrier

    Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

    The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

    The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

    Cultural Barrier

    Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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    The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

    The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

    Gender Barrier

    Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

    The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

    The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

    And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

    Reference

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