Learn To Handle Criticism Tips on how to deal with criticism in order to help your business

No matter how successful you are, you'll eventually facecriticism, whether from customers, other entrepreneurs, family andfriends, or even employees. How do you effectively handle criticismand keep yourself and your company moving forward? Here are fivetips:

1. Listen openly. The criticism might not be true, butwhat's important is that the person perceived it as true.Instead of feeling insulted, find out how you can change theperson's perception or address the facts if it is true.

2. Don't take it personally. It's easy to want tovindicate yourself when you feel unjustly criticized by, say, acustomer. But no matter how off-base a customer's complaintmight be, resist the temptation to lash back. Otherwise, you risklosing that client-and the potential referrals he or shebrings to the relationship. Who knows? The person could be goingthrough a tough divorce or dealing with a loved one's terminalillness. Cut people some slack.

3. Get a second opinion. Not everyone has your bestinterests at heart. Some people, for example, will deride you outof envy. When you sense this is the case, don't get defensive.If you have to, force a smile and say "Thank you for yourfeedback. I'll take some time to evaluate what you said and seeif I should make any changes based on your suggestions." Thiswill help you maintain your composure. Then consult someone youtrust to see what part of the criticism, if any, is valid.

4. Ask yourself "What can I learn from thiscriticism?" For example, suppose a customer complains thatthe late-payment policy outlined in your contract is grosslyunreasonable. If you take the posture of wanting to learn from thiscriticism, you may discover that other customers are turned off bythe policy as well, revealing a problem that, if ignored, couldhurt your sales in the long run.

5. Get used to the heat. If your goal is to avoid orsuppress criticism, you'll consistently feel discouraged,angry, frustrated and ready to give up your entrepreneurial dream.Instead, make peace with the fact that as long as you're theBig Kahuna, you're going to be a prime target for criticism.When people point out that you're not perfect, take solace inthe knowledge that you're in good company.

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