Hearing praises about your work boosts self-esteem and inspires you to be a better speaker.
However, there are times that your professional PowerPoints fall short of your audience’s expectations, exposing you to harsh critiques about your pitch.
Criticism is hard to handle, especially when it knocks your ego down. But all types of feedback—even negative ones—can help you improve and become a better speaker.
Here’s how to handle negative feedback positively:
Learn from the Negative
Don’t take negative feedback personally. Treat criticism as your door to growth and improvement.
If pictures are developed from negatives, so are you. Stop looking into the rearview mirror, and focus on what lies ahead. Move forward and learn from those mistakes.
Mold the feedback into something constructive, fostering effective change rather than solely concentrating on the critique itself.
Consider the Source
Sometimes, the feedback we get can be taken as hurtful insults and attacks on our person. These nonconstructive comments may be hard to accept at first, but don’t let them deter your progress.
Consider the person criticizing you and understand that they don’t have the same mindset as yours.
Feedback isn’t the same for everyone. Ignore distasteful comments and don’t dwell on it. Also, be aware of whether you’ve offended or angered a client or not.
Read between the lines and ask yourself the following questions:
- What are they concerned about? What are the key issues?
- Why are they reacting this way?
- What did I say that triggered them to give negative feedback?
These will help you digest the comment and understand where your critic is coming from. Always be mindful of how you engage the audience to avoid provoking anyone.
Taking feedback too personally creates a hurdle between you and your audience.
Keep an objective stance on the issues being raised to save your professional image. Take a few seconds to breathe, evaluate the situation, and avoid reacting outright.
Your audience seeks not only credibility but also a sense of professionalism. Reply to them with kindness and confirm that you are on the same page.
Thank them for sharing their input and create a safe space where both of your arguments can meet.
Letting go of negative emotions in response to hostile feedback is difficult at first, but accepting or rejecting critique is your choice.
Welcome your audiences’ criticism to improve yourself as a person and as a presenter.
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Donald, Latumahina. “How to Handle Negative Feedback in 6 Simple Steps.” Life Optimizer. Accessed June 24, 2015.
“Presentation Tips: 5 Quick Steps to Audience Engagement.” SlideGenius, Inc. December 16, 2014. Accessed June 24, 2015.