In this latest “Listener Question of the Week” episode, James and Phoebe explore the issue of negative feedback. When is it legitimate, and when is it just about someone else’s “stuff”? They share tips of how to handle criticism, specifically if you’re a creator in the online space. James shares that it’s a fallacy that we need to be all things to everyone, and he’s spent a lot of time over the years determining who his ideal customer is. As the saying goes, if you try to be everything to everyone, you really end up being nothing.
Dealing with criticism is a skill that takes time to develop, and when you’re a creator putting your work out to the world, it can leave you very vulnerable.
“You’re literally birthing something that is symbolic to who you are”
It’s only human nature that you’re going to take things personally, and Phoebe adds that the Internet has created a layer where people can get a sense of entitlement to say whatever they want to, even if it would never happen in person.
Tips to deal with negative feedback:
1. Understand everyone has their own “stuff”
Everyone has a perception, or a lens of reality. Is it an interpretation, is it a story or is it real though? You could be doing or saying something that is causing people to push against change, or step out of their comfort zone, and their egos are just trying to keep them safe.
2. Look for real feedback
Realize again that if it feels personal to you, it really has nothing to do with you. To determine if the feedback is real or not, get rid of the adjectives, assumptions and interpretations that the person is using. Is there something that you can do better? For example, if someone wasn’t able to attend your webinars, could you have done a better job of reminding them by sending more notifications? If this is the case, their feedback could be legitimate and there may be room for improvement in your product or service.
3. Find the consensus of the group
You should be looking for trends in the feedback received. You may find something easy to add or amend, like a table of contents or more examples within your course if this is a common theme coming from participants.
4. Have a “buffer”
If you have a team member that can give you his or her interpretation of the feedback, it can be helpful. This third-party person will not be as vulnerable as you are as the creator or personal brand.
We tend to let the negative things said control us with fear. We may fear rejection, humiliation and the hatred of others, but in reality, these things really can’t hurt us. If you care, it really shows that you’re after continual improvement and quality in what you do and that you care about your customers.
“Even the best stuff is getting criticized; we can’t let it stop us from doing what we’ve been doing”
There’s such a huge opportunity when we receive any type of feedback, and staying open to it really is a choice that we can make. If your commitment and intention is pure and is designed to help people and provide value, you’re heading in the right direction!