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It’s a skill to be able to deal with criticism. Often, people take criticism as a personal attack, rather than as a possible constructive suggestion. However, criticism, specifically the constructive kind, can often help you to improve yourself, your business, or your product. Here, LystenNetwork lists five key ways to deal with criticism. 

1. Take a Step Back

No pun intended. Before you get defensive or immediately brush off criticism, take a step back from it. Unless the criticism is actually personal, try to realize the feedback wasn’t an attack at you, but instead simply feedback. Explore its validity. Is this criticism from someone you trust? Or someone who may have something to gain from you being discouraged? Is this criticism constructive, such as: “Your app wasn’t very intuitive.” or is it destructive: “Your app is horrible because it isn’t Twitter.”? 

2. Respond

There are at least two ways to respond to criticism: ignore it or respond to it. You should know when to do which of these two. If the criticism is personal or destructive, simply ignore it and wash your hands of it. But, if the criticism has the potential to be useful, such as genuine feedback on your product, respond to it. Again, avoid becoming defensive. Instead, engage with the person. Ask them to elaborate, to give you examples if applicable, or to even hop in a Zoom call and show you what they’re talking about. You want to listen to your users if they have something valuable to say. If you end up engaging with them, be sure to thank them for taking the time to give you feedback. 

3. Re-Evaluate

This step could occur for either option from the Respond step. It may be time to re-evaluate if you are receiving similar criticism from other people. Revisit what they are complaining about. Do you need to rethink your business or product based on this criticism? Or, is it possible that the criticism is stemming from a different problem? Maybe you haven’t accurately described or pitched your product or business and it’s causing your consumers to be confused about what you’re providing. Make a genuine effort to step out of your shoes and into your critics’.

4. Learn

Criticism can often be a learning experience, even if the person giving the criticism is wrong or misunderstanding a concept. Learn how to take criticism and how to apply it too. Apply the suggestion to the role or product or business, not to yourself. Learn how to receive feedback and how to turn it into fuel to improve. 

5. Adapt

As your business gets more popular, you’re going to be in the public eye more and more. Think about how often Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, or even Jack Dorsey are in the news. Thousands of critical comments, posts, articles, tweets, and even news segments are based on them. Eventually, you must adapt to be comfortable with receiving and ignoring criticism and knowing when to do which of the two.


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