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Pachter's Pointers:
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions


4.25.2011

No Pouting: 7 Steps to Handle Criticism

A director has just received an assessment from her client about her work and wanted to know if she had handled the criticism appropriately. During our coaching session we reviewed the following steps. Check them out to see if you receive criticism professionally.

1. Don’t get defensive. You want to be open to the feedback. Look at the person, don’t frown or cross your arms. Remember no one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Think of criticism as an opportunity to grow.

2. Listen attentively. And as hard as it may be, do not interrupt. You don’t want to cut short the person’s comments. You really have to hear what the person has to say.

3. Ask for clarification. If the person is not specific, you can ask him or her to explain the comments. Responses like, “What exactly do you mean by unprofessional?” or “Why did you say the report was terrible?” can help you gain information and buy you some time to calm down and collect your thoughts.

4. Explain what happened. Do not make excuses but sometimes there may be reasons for the difficulty that were truly beyond your control. Calmly give the details.

5. If you did mess up, accept responsibility. Saying, “You’re right. It won’t happen again” can go a long way to defuse a negative situation.

6. Ask for more. Before the conversation is over, ask for more feedback. Saying, “Tell me more….” or “What else?” demonstrates that doing a good job is important to you.

7. Finish off the criticism. Send an email that you learned from the discussion and are ready for the next assignment/challenge: “Thanks for the feedback. I have already implemented the changes we discussed and look forward to working with you in the future.”

It turns out that the director had done five of seven items listed!

Additional information can be found in The Power of Positive Confrontation or LIKE my Facebook fan page to receive daily communication tips. www.facebook.com/pachtertraining

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