business negotiation

Receiving feedback is one of the best ways to improve your skills. However, the act of receiving feedback can feel less than pleasant.

A critique may come your way because of a creative difference or even a mistake that slips through on your part. Regardless of the type of feedback, being able to take it in stride is important for your career.

Here’s how to do it gracefully:

Accept that Nobody’s Perfect

We try our hardest to turn in fabulous work the first time around, but once in a while, we can miss the mark. Understand that this isn’t something that only happens to you.

All service providers receive feedback and even welcome feedback from clients. Knowing where you can improve will make you a better business owner.

Keep in mind that not all people will bother to take the time to give you client feedback. They may just decide to stop working with you altogether. When someone does make an effort to give you a critique, listen to it and make adjustments where necessary.

Don’t Take It as a Personal Attack

Creators tend to identify personally with their work. Your creations become an extension of yourself and feedback can hurt your ego.

Be careful not to tie your self-worth into your business. When this line is blurry, every business challenge you experience or piece of feedback you receive threatens to hurt your mood.

Remember, business is just business. It’s a relationship where you’re trading a valuable service for money. If there’s something wrong with the service, it’s understandable that a client will want to discuss ways to improve.

Demand Respect

There may be situations where your client is providing feedback in a way that’s hurtful or inappropriateAlways take the high ground.

Thank the client for valid critiques, but be clear that you demand respect at all times. You’re not a punching bag for a client even when they identify legitimate concerns.

Do the amount of revisions you outlined in your contract. And stand your ground if the client tries to take advantage of you.

Be Aware of How You Respond 

If you’re someone who doesn’t respond to feedback well, it’s something you need to work on.

Not responding well to feedback can mean:

  • Projecting problems onto others
  • Responding with hostility
  • Downplaying the feedback

Here’s the bottom line: No one likes to give a critique to someone who always gives push back or is unwilling to accept it. In the end, no one benefits when you receive feedback poorly.

Not sure how you receive critiques? Ask a family member or close friend their thoughts on the matter.

Final Word

Getting feedback is part of life and business. How you respond to feedback can make or break your relationships with clients.

Most people who hire others understand that problems happen once in a while. How you step up and address them makes a world of difference.

Handle critiques gracefully and make efforts to improve. It can help better your skills and make clients more confident about working with you.

Taylor K. Gordon is a personal finance writer and founder of Tay Talks Money, a personal finance and productivity blog on hacking your way to a happier savings account. Taylor has contributed to MagnifyMoney, The Huffington Post, GoGirl Finance, Madame Noire, and The Write Life.

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