Negative feedback – it’s something all professionals deal with. Not everyone is going to love you, your products and services or the way you do business. Negative comments and feedback can either bring out the best or the worst in you as a professional. How you handle it is entirely up to you.
Here are a few tips for handling negative feedback with poise and professionalism:
1. Don’t take it personally
This is easier said than done as we all have feelings, some of which get hurt from time to time. The main thing to remember with negative feedback is that it’s just an opinion, which may not necessarily be the truth. In the business world most feedback is based on your work, products or services so it’s best not to think of negative comments as a reflection of you as a person. People may like you but hate your work and vice versa.
2. Never respond in anger
Whenever you get a negative or “mean” email, voicemail, letter or phone call never respond in anger. If you’re dealing with negativity over the phone simply listen to the comments, let the caller know you understand their concerns and tell them when you will get back to them. The last thing you want to do is to respond to a caller or reply a message or email when you’re angry. Anger can affect your thinking and judgment causing you to respond in an unprofessional manner.
3. Don’t retaliate
If a customer, client or competitor makes comments that you don’t like or agree with, do not fight them. Retaliating and arguing with them will only make the situation worse. Listen to what they have to say and think about whether it is valid or not. If valid address it on a professional level. Do not trade insults or sling mud, if they wish to take that route let them it’s up to you to be the Polite Professional.
4. Distill and understand the issues
When faced with negative feedback it’s important to properly understand where it’s coming from and what it’s regarding. Take some time to process what your clients or customers are displeased with. Once you identify and understand the problem you’ll be better equipped to find a solution.
Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world. She can be reached via Website, Twitter, Facebook or her Blog.