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How to Take Criticism

For anyone, criticism can be challenging, especially if you struggle with accepting the need for change. Criticism, especially for a business owner, can have many positive benefits though. For example, you may be exposed to new perspectives and ideas for your business venture, or you can be informed about how a certain communication message or comment could be misconstrued. Depending on the situation and your perspective, the ability to turn criticism into constructive feedback is a great asset to have. We’re providing you with some ways to turn any criticism into something positive and be able to learn from it, whether you’re a new business owner, a VA, or anyone struggling to cope with the effects criticism can have.

Tip #1: Listen to what is being said

An important part of receiving criticism and being able to turn it into a positive lesson or piece of advice, is actively listening to what the other person is saying to you. If you are trying to multitask, while being given feedback, you can miss crucial elements of the conversation. Additionally, if the other person notices you aren’t respecting them or aren’t responsive to their recommendations, they can be less inclined to help you in the future.

A way you can practice actively listening to others is by giving people your time, when they ask to speak with you. If you are busy, you can ask them if the conversation can wait or if what they have to say is more important than what you’re currently doing.

Another way to practice listening is to monitor your non-verbal communication skills. Be attentive to how you are communicating to others through your body language, facial expressions, and more, and at the same time, notice if they are giving you the same response.

Tip #2: Stay calm

Remaining calm, cool and collected while someone else is talking to you (even if you don’t necessarily agree with what they are saying) is a valuable skill to have. Similar to Tip #1 about non-verbal communication, other people can see when you are getting aggravated and may be less inclined to help or provide positive reassurance.

Also, if you become defensive right away, you may miss the opportunity to change your business practices for the better. Or you can risk losing a positive relationship with whomever you are receiving the feedback from.

Tip #3: Ask for examples or advice

If you are unsure about the criticism you receive, or don’t necessarily agree with what is being said, you can ask the person for examples of when you did something or how to implement the new recommendations into your business. Saying something along the lines of “I understand where you are coming from, how do you suggest I make these changes?” is a neutral and effective way to pose the question without risking sounding rude or defensive. This also gives them an opportunity to further explain what they mean, in case their original statement was ambiguous or hard to put into words.

If you still are unable to accept the criticism that you are being given, you can opt for an outsider perspective. Ask a friend, family member or another colleague for advice on what they think you should do and see if they are able to provide you with a new perspective on the situation.

Tip #4: The 24-hour rule

A frequent issue among parents of multiple children is that they constantly argue. This rule can help solve that, and can apply to business and professional situations as well. The 24-hour rule is exactly what it sounds like: you give yourself 24 hours to calm down, absorb the information, and decide how you will react after any disagreement or tough discussion. After the 24 hours is up, responding to the criticism with a level head and when you are more in-tune with your thoughts will be much easier and is a great way to begin implementing new changes or offer your side of the story (so to speak).

If you take these 24 hours to digest what is being recommended to you and let it mingle with your own thoughts on the subject, you are less likely to respond in a defensive manner and are more likely to be accepting of solutions. You may even change your mind completely and embrace the recommendation!

For follow-up questions, please reach out to us using the contact us page on our website. Also, make sure you’re following TVL on social media to stay up to date with all things travel, lifestyle and business tips and tricks!


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