No matter how tough you appear on the
outside, dealing with criticism is hard. If youíre the victim of a harsh
critique, whether justified or not, here are five ways to keep your cool and
diffuse what could spiral into a heated situation!
1.One of the toughest kinds of criticisms to handle is an unjust accusation.
Even though itís tempting, donít stage a comeback with equally defensive,
biting or embarrassing personal remarks. The accuser may have just been
misinformed. Instead, ask the criticizer questions and probe into their
comments. Often, there is some underlying cause for their accusation. If
itís truly unjust, youíll be able to mend the problem and state the facts
right there on the spot.
2.If you immediately assume the defense, your critic will feel as if their
message just hit a brick wall, and theyíll keep trying to insist and focus
on the problem. By listening constructively, youíll indicate that youíve
heard their criticism and that you intend to follow up on the problem. Even
better, ask the critic what THEY would do differently if they were in your
situation. Chances are, youíll get a lot of feedback and perhaps some solid
ideas and suggestions as well.
3.If the discussion becomes heated, lower your voice for every level your
critic raises theirs. This shows not only that youíre calm and collected
(even if your blood is boiling underneath), but puts the spotlight on the
other person, embarrassing them to some degree because they were unable to
maintain a reasonable tone and temper.
4.Show that youíre more interested in solving the problem than arguing for
your point of view. Sometimes, an honest critique can be a delicate way of
informing you of a particular problem that no one else notices or wants to
share. Donít be too quick to defend yourself or judge your accuser, and take
the complaints and suggestions in stride. Chances are, it will give you some
insights into improvements you can make that you ordinarily may have
overlooked or not even considered.
5.If the issues begin to get out of hand, and you feel yourself starting to
lose your cool, take a deep breath to gather your thoughts and ask your
accuser for specific details and points that led them to bring this item to
your attention. You may uncover the heart of the real matter and the real
reason for their biting remarks, and it may even be something totally
unrelated to the matter at hand!
Remember though, you canít please all the people all the time. Some people
are simply never satisfied. Overlook these shortsighted individuals and know
deep down that you are making positive progress despite their attempts to
drag you down. When you know that youíve done your best, the bitter pill of
criticism will feel more like a hearty dose of good medicine, and that makes
all kinds of criticism easier to take.