How to Handle Criticism (without being a dick)

personal development Jan 07, 2018

I got some feedback on one of our ads yesterday. OOH CRITICISM.


Once upon a time (and not all that long ago) I'd have taken this to heart and agonised over it.

Instead I hid it. Used it as the basis for this piece of content, and moved on.

You can't please everyone, if you do then you're probably pretty dull, but let's go through the handling criticism checklist.


1. In the words of The Guide - DON'T PANIC!

An emotional response is the first thing that happens. Take a deep breath, relax, don't worry or panic, for it is not the end of the world. We have world leaders and meteorites and drug resistant bacteria that will see to that in good time, so chill. As if anyone ever chilled by being told to chill.

Let your emotions run their course before doing anything. It'll save any rash reactions which could cause you a problem. Had I called this chap "a fucking fuckwit who doesn't deserve helping" then I'd look like the purveyor of fuckwittery.


2. Respond graciously, if even necessary

In this case I just hid the comment (ever see an ad with 'X comments' yet none of them show? They've been hidden by the ad manager). Get rid of destructive or aggressive criticism. Respond graciously to criticism given in good faith, even if it wasn't asked for - 'thank you for the feedback' is enough.


3. Don't take it personally

I am not the advert. The comment was not about me. Often we equate the thing we did or created with who we are. "I hate this food" is not the same as "I hate you" (we'll deal with haters another time).


4. It tells you more about them

The way they work, the strategies they run, even maybe that they're tightly wound and need an emotional release and you got in the way. You can't please everyone. See season 2 Episode 4 of The Golden Girls where Rose can't fathom why someone would hate her and it eats away at her very core. Not worth it.


5. Enjoy it

Something you did created a response in someone. If you're growing a brand then the bigger you get, the more you show other people that you're progressing, the more you highlight their own deficiencies and people do not like that. And Smile. It'll help relax you.


6. See if there's any truth in it

It could be an amazing opportunity to learn something and grow, or create something even better.The biggest and best heroes face criticism; from Captain America in Civil War, to The Doctor (from Queen Victoria, see the whole  setting up of Torchwood).

Does it stop them? Or does it put a fire in their belly in drive action?


I did a podcast

Because this topic turned out to be popular.

It's on lots of platforms:


TuneIn Radio:



Robin Bates - Fuck the Haters (not literally)


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