As creatives in the online marketplace, we are in a unique position wherein feedback can be given anonymously, and this often leads to the possibility for negative feedback on our work. (And sometimes, they don’t even bother with anonymity.)
While deep down we may know that it’s not true, the words can still hurt. But negative feedback is almost inevitable, so I’d like to give you some tips today to help you deal with it if and when it happens.
Tip #1: Remember the feedback is not about you personally, it’s about your work. For some creative people that may seem like the same thing, but it’s not. You may make many projects in your lifetime, and each one will have different elements, themes, structure, etc. I can guarantee you no one looks at your project and instead sees your face! Instead, critics look at a project and all they see are the flaws in the project itself (at least according to them). So remember to first separate yourself a bit from the work being criticized. It’ll help to remember it’s just one piece they dislike, and not you!
Tip #2: Everyone is entitled to their opinion. That may seem like a silly thing to say when someone is criticizing your work, but if you think about times you may have not liked something about someone else’s
project, you might be able to understand where they’re coming from, even if you don’t understand how they’re expressing themselves.
Tip #3: Is there a kernel of truth? Were you rushing when you finished the project and are there sloppy finishing techniques? Own these flaws. The more self-confident and comfortable you are with the flaws in your work, the less other people will feel the need to point them out. Usually, bullies want to point out flaws to engage our shame. But if we’re not ashamed, they have nothing to hurt us with!
Tip #4: Ignorance is bliss. Sometimes, it’s better to just read, process, and move on. You can’t please everyone and it’s not worth the effort to try. For every 1 person that comments negatively you’ll have many many more that love your work!
Tip #5: Practice kindness. Maybe the person on the other side of the screen was having a really bad day. It’s possible they didn’t even really mean what they said. If you do decide to respond, keep this in mind. Even if they were being negative on purpose, you’ll feel better if you respond kindly. Plus, it’ll look good for your business and name that you didn’t engage with the negativity!
Again, negative feedback is almost inevitable in the online marketplace. You’ll most likely experience it, so make sure you’re prepared to deal with it if and when you do!
Mentally preparing yourself for how to deal with this type of feedback can go a long way to taking the sting out of the experience. If you’d like, you can even decide ahead of time and put some “rules” in place for how you will handle this type of situation. That way, if it happens you know exactly how you want to deal with it, taking some of the stress out of the situation.
Remember these tips and if you ever have to deal with negative feedback on your work, you’ll know just how to handle it!