How well do you handle criticism?
If you use blogging, newsletters and/or social media sites as a way to market your services, you will receive varying levels of criticism. Paradoxically, the more successful you become, the more criticism you will receive, because your work will reach more people.
I wrote a post in January, about the criticism bloggers receive, which readers never get to see – emails etc. Today’s post covers other forms of criticism, and offers some ideas on why it happens and how to deal with it effectively.
I would also like to encourage YOU to add your tips at the end of the post!
Genuine, informed criticism
This is when someone, who knows the subject in question, believes they have found something in what you are doing or saying, which is incorrect. Their motives are well intentioned and their feedback is often of great value, even though many people greet it with hostility or sarcasm. In my experience, genuine, informed critics almost always tell you their opinion via email, the phone or face-to-face – Rather than via a social network or blog comment etc. That’s because their intention is to help and nothing else.
Genuine, yet ill-informed criticism
Some people are going to tell you that you are doing something wrong or that you “don’t get it” and their intentions are good; yet their feedback is from an ill-informed perspective. Like the people in the above example, these guys mean well, but unlike that example, their help is more likely to hinder you than it is to help you.
If we act on criticism that is factually wrong, we make bad decisions. This is why it’s really important to check the source of the feedback we receive, before we decide to take action. If someone with no expertise or experience in something is criticising you in that area, get some more feedback from an informed source.
Just because someone disagrees with our point of view, does not mean they are being critical of us. It’s easy to regard those who see things differently, as being negatively critical, when they are simply offering a different perspective. This is especially the case with blog comments, where readers will often take a counter-point from the blogger or a fellow commenter. The whole point of asking for comments and feedback, is to get different opinions and ideas.
Finally, consider the motivation behind negative criticism
People do what they do for a reason. If we take a moment to consider why someone might make a critical comment about us or our work, it’s easy to see the point they are making in the correct context.
Some do it to attract “traffic”. For example, the best-known bloggers often find less established bloggers writing extremely critical posts about them, in the hope that the popular blogger mentions them and in so doing, delivers a ton of traffic to the critic’s blog. Some do it to get noticed. Others do it because they just LOVE to look for the negative (I get lots of these, whenever I make a spelling error.) Some do it just to have a little fun, at our expense.
The bottom line: There many reasons that people feel compelled to negatively criticise and many different types of criticism. If you use (or plan to use) blogging, social networking sites and newsletters etc, as part of your marketing mix, negative criticism is all part of the feedback you will receive, as your audience grows.