Inspire to Be Inspired

How to Shut Up & Listen: Dealing with Constructive Critique

By: Alexandria Traylor |

Often times when my creative juices begin to flow, my thought patterns tend to be everywhere. After organizing my thoughts, I run my ideas past a few of my closest friends. One friend has an eye for marketing strategically and the other is a publication guru. There have been times that my ideas are received with praise as well as a few times that my ideas are met with backlash or a blank stare. What may seem to make all of the sense in the world to me, may not be fully understood, seen through similar lenses, too broad of a topic, or not as valuable information as I may personally believe. This disagreement with my own greatness causes me to immediately be on the defense. I make excuses in efforts to “explain”. I talk over them stating that they wouldn’t understand because they don’t blog or saying to myself that “you can’t share God’s vision with everyone”. Both are lame ways to deal with back lash.

In reality, I had to check myself quicker than Usain Bolt’s 100 meter time in the 2016 Olympics. I examined how I was reacting and realized that I was hurting my own growth and ultimately their trust when I asked for business related advice. Honestly, truly *Joanne the Scammer voice*, I really sucked at being on the receiving end of constructive criticism. Clearly, I can’t handle the truth. I would revert to the defensive because I was taking what they said personally as an attack on my character. I asked for input because I value the word of my friends and their expertise in their respective fields. Ultimately, they want to take part in nurturing my vision. They want to see me AND my business grow. Why not accept critique with an open mind?!




When Struggling with Constructive Critique:

  1. Examine the criticism with an optimist’s mind

Make a conscious effort to stop your first natural reaction. My natural reactions to be on the defense lead me nowhere. Pick out the helpful details and examine the root of their response to your suggestions or statements.


  1. Repeat back a synopsis of their critique

By repeating back what was said, you can ensure that you fully understand the critique as well as clear up any grey areas. By doing this, you can move forward with your response with clarity.


  1. Be slow to respond

Take the time to fully analyze the statements made in regards to your work. This will assist you to digest fully your reviewers remarks as well as help you mentally prepare for your response.


  1. Respond only with facts, not opinions or emotions

Remove “I feel..” or “I believe…” statements when responding. In efforts to curb your feelings, seek out specific examples to help improve the conversational exchange. Specific examples can help you attain specific solutions or suggestions.


  1. Remember the benefits of receiving critique

Getting a second or third opinion can open your perspective to options not previously considered. In receiving valuable feedback, you can ensure that what you are producing is of value to others in hopes of excelling expectations.


  1. Follow up after implementing the action

Ensure that you remain on course by seeking out follow up commentary after your critique. This will verify that you implemented correctly the suggestions given.

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