There is no easy way to take on being criticized, but there are times when people don’t mean us harm and, quite the opposite, they are trying to help us improve. My first reaction is to respond or justify myself in a more “aggressive” way, but I try to educate myself and never give feedback to feedback. So here are a few “golden” rules to cope with negative feedback.
Read it at least twice!
If you are lucky enough and it is written, then you should definitely read it more than once. It might be that things aren’t as bad as you first thought. If it is spoken, try not to take the worst interpretation there is, and think about the times that you gave corrective feedback. Words can be taken out of context, so make sure you ask questions if you didn’t fully understand.
Take out the feedback that is mean or disrespectful
We are living in an era where many people hide between a username and throw dirt at others. So make sure you ignore all of those who are mean. Don’t even think about responding to them, it will only make things worse!
Take out the feedback that doesn’t come with an explanation
Ignore the feedback that has no explanation of why that person didn’t like something that you did. We are different and it might happen to have different tastes, so don’t take it personally and move on, that person was not trying to make you improve by telling you what you could do better or what you did wrong, that means they just want to get attention. Don’t let him/her have it.
Look for the areas you can improve
The idea of feedback is to get the opinions of others. Naturally, it is not an easy task to understand and try to see their point of view, but it is important to extract information that can help you in the future. Look for areas that received the criticism and for ways you can make them more adequate.
Don’t get discouraged
Putting yourself out there is not easy, neither is receiving “bad” feedback, but this is the only way to improve and to make your work and yourself a better version. It can be hard and a lot to take in when people are not on your side, but you cannot let yourself get discouraged! It took Thomas Edison a while to invent the electric light bulb and a lot of failures, yet he didn’t give up and we are now all using his invention.
It is one of my biggest challenges to resist giving feedback to feedback and to not get discouraged when I take the hot seat. I just recently gave a presentation at a local IT conference from where I received both very good and very bad feedback, but I decided that I will improve in specific areas and ignore all those who were just rude. Although my first reaction was to say that I will never put myself through that, I ended up sustaining the same presentation at 2 more events from where I received very good feedback. My advice is to keep your head up and go on with the show!