The way that you’re perceived in the business world determines everything from how well you can grow your business right through to the talent pool from which you’re able to employ.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that a new enterprise typically begins with an effort to tailor a reputation that you can be proud of. From a credibility standpoint, in particular, this is why we bend over backward to impress new clients, keep our noses squeaky clean, and even stretch to cover an online mba cost or similar that quite literally adds fuel to our names. And, yet, countless companies undo their hard-earned credibility in moments.
The reasons for this vary and can involve anything from data breaches through to embarrassing mistakes or, as we’ll discuss here, a simple inability to accept criticism. After all, working with clients is a two-way street, and no one wants to work with a company that’s entirely inflexible to their suggestions.
Rather, you need to earn your continued credibility with a measured and professional approach to feedback. Here, we’re going to look at the dos and don’ts that will help you make that a possibility.
Don’t get defensive
If you’ve worked hard on a pitch, criticism can be hard to take. You’ve put your best people onto this, after all, and you’re certain it’s going to work. But, the worst thing you can do is to try and prove that despite what your clients say. After all, they’ve made up their minds, and they ultimately know their business better than you. By trying to explain or defend your ideas, you risk appearing condescending and, more importantly, unprofessional.
Don’t be self-deprecating
On the flip-side of that first point is the fact that you also don’t want to agree with criticisms too readily. After all, there’s no place for self-deprecation in business, and chucking your ideas under a bus as soon as someone questions them suggests that you never had faith in the first place. That’s going to beg the question of why you pitched them, and whether you even have what it takes to offer a satisfactory solution.
Do try to bridge gaps together
Considering all that, it can seem like there’s no way to win, but that’s simply not true. In fact, keeping your composure and reputation regardless of criticism is as simple as working with your clients to find the best of both worlds. By taking more time to understand their feedback, you should be able to work closely with them to lift the areas of your plan that work and merge them with your client’s ideas. Even if this means dropping some plans that you think would’ve been effective, this method proves that your initial proposal did hold value after all, but also that you’re flexible enough to realize there’s always room for improvement.
Is criticism ever going to get easier? Unlikely, but at least this approach ensures that you don’t throw a tantrum that altogether undermines the possibility of growing your business and becoming a recognized, reliable industry name.
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