How to Receive Criticism and Negative Feedback

One thing we know, is that almost no one enjoys receiving criticism or negative feedback. But you can learn to flip it into an opportunity to learn and improve. You might ask, how can I accomplish this?

If you learn to use active listening apply strategic empathy, use open body language and the power of reframing a situation from one that you feel defensive (perhaps even anxiety) to a perception of opportunity to learn something real. You can benefit by identifying how you can improve and/or learn about the person providing the criticism. You will discover you just turned a potentially unpleasant experience into a positive learning experience.

Helpful hints when receiving criticism or negative feedback

Maintain eye contact. Nothing is more frustrating than speaking with someone about an important issue and you notice they are not paying 100% attention to you. They might be looking at their phone or maybe not even looking straight at you, so it is very important to maintain eye contact.


Applies strategic empathy. Empathy does not mean you agree with the other person, but empathy means you can put yourself in the other persons shoes and understand their point of view. This is a very important skill in effective communication.


If you disagree, hold your tongue until they finish sharing criticizing and negative feedback. Resist the urge to interrupt, if you do to correct and in accuracy plead your case you are going to look worse. Even if you are right arguing or being defensive will only make the other person dig their heels in deeper and leave more strongly that they are right. Gather your thoughts first and calmly balance the situation.

If you use open body language, then you signal to the other person nonverbally that you’re listening. Nod your head to demonstrate you are hearing and understanding this does not mean you agree but demonstrates that and shows you get the message.

If you use open body language, then you signal to the other person nonverbally that you’re listening.

Each time you use verbal tags or phrases like yes OK I hear you; I understand, I’m willing, I’ll make an effort, I’ll work on that, thanks for pointing that out. You express and show that you are listening

If appropriate, you can insist on follow up meeting with a request, “could I check back with you, to make sure I am making progress in the direction you want?”

You can easily see that your demeanor and ability to choose your words carefully will make all the difference.

The more you express an eagerness to improve and learn the last resistance you should receive from the person providing the criticism or negative feedback.

Empathy, Communication in sales, sales communication, sales consultant sales success,

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