In this episode, I share some tips on dealing with criticism professionally.
1) Don’t take it personally
I know—easier said than done.
I always try to handle negative PR situations because as a business owner, I feel that it’s important to stand up for myself and ensure that people aren’t getting the wrong message from random people who don’t even know me or what I can do to help others.
That being said, I do draw a line and I also understand that not everyone is my ideal client—and that is totally fine! If someone delivers criticism and it’s clear that they have no intention of building a relationship or has no interest in my work whatsoever, I will simply rectify what I feel needs to be rectified and then end the conversation with a polite “kind regards”.
I don’t invite further discussion with these people—though 9 times out of 10 they will continue to comment and pester me. I just simply ignore them—whatever else they may have to say is so not worth my time, and I always make sure I leave some credibility in my initial rectification for onlookers so that they can make their own decision about me without the influence of another commenter’s first impression.
Arguing on forms and being nasty will do nothing to help your author brand, and it’s certainly not professional either. No matter how triggered or upset you might be, it’s important to work through these feelings without retaliating negatively—I find that venting with a close friend does the trick for me, and they usually remind me how to laugh it off and get back to work.
2) Ignore the haters
The haters are just that—haters. They aren’t here to serve you in any way, they don’t contribute to your growth, so as cliché as this might sound… you just gotta ignore them!
Unfortunately, there are multitudes of people online who seem to exist just to be negative, harass you, bully and attack you, and sometimes they might start with a point—but usually this is triggered by something more personal going on in their own life. It has nothing to do with you—so don’t even pay any mind to it.
Everyone deserves to be spoken to politely, and even criticism can be delivered politely. If someone has the nerve to start a relationship with you and make their first impression an accusation, then personally, I wouldn’t want anything to do with them—and I imagine neither would you. You get to choose who has an impact on your life, your day, your mood.
3) Be selective
With all this in mind… not everyone is out here trying to attack you. Some people have genuine thoughts and opinions—and it’s up to you to select which ones do serve you and which ones to ignore.
It’s important that before taking on the advice of other people, you know your own self worth and you know what story or message you’re trying to convey (or are advocating for). This will help you to take on advice and criticism that aligns with your vision and will actually improve and build your skills as an author!
4) Reshape your perspective
Sometimes, we can learn from a negative situation or even turn it into a positive. Past PR disasters have taught me how to show up in a more credible light, how to deal with sceptics and influence them using my knowledge, as well as use them as learning curves to help my own clients.
When someone wants to criticise me, I can either listen to what they’re saying and take advice from it as needed, or I can handle it professionally and consider it another layer to my armour. But what’s important is that I get to choose—and you do too. You get to change your perspective and find a silver lining in everything—it’s just about looking at it from the other person’s shoes and deciding whether they mean you well or not.
5) Simply block them
Some people are just not worth the time, and at the end of the day, it really comes back down to protecting your energy and emotions. If an accusation is going to shake your confidence and send you spiralling for a week, it’s much better to just block them immediately and move on with your life. Be the productive, amazing person you know you are and focus on the readers and people who do support you.