As a writer, designer, and editor, I appreciate and request feedback from others. Constructive criticism is valuable as a creative professional because it can help you improve your work and create something polished. Having your art, your writing, or whatever you are working on be critiqued can be intimidating because it is something you worked hard on, poured a little of your soul into. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be painful. Here are the 8 don’ts of receiving constructive criticism.
1. Don’t Take It Personally
When receiving constructive criticism, don’t take it too personally! Jacqueline Whitmore writes, “Constructive criticism is not an insult or a reflection on who you are as a person.” Be grateful instead of defensive. Because you are a professional, you can decide later what you will ultimately do on your project.
2. Don’t Interrupt
Instead of interrupting, listen to what your critic has to say. Nicole Lindsay explains, “[A]void analyzing or questioning the person’s assessment; instead, just focus on understanding his or her comments and perspective.” If you avoid being argumentative, you listen and hear what your reviewer has to say.
3. Don’t Forget to Bring a Pen
Write down notes while your critic speaks with you about their feedback. If you write down notes, you will be able to analyze what is useful and what steps you should take next. Additionally, Helen Jane argues that “[w]riting it down makes the criticism less personal.”
4. Don’t Avoid Constructive Criticism
Do you want to improve as a writer or an artist or a designer? Then stop avoiding constructive criticism. Emily Loupe explains, “Shutting down when someone wants to give you feedback will only make the situation strained.” Acknowledge what your mentor, reviewer, or critic is saying, and continue to pursue your passion with an open mind.
5. Don’t Be Disorganized
You need to define a plan. After your critic provides their response, sit down and address their feedback. Follow up with a thank-you email or card to your reviewer because he or she took the time to consider your work thoughtfully. After you have taken time to reflect on their suggestions, you can schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss further questions you might have.
6. Don’t Be Closed Off
If you appear to be closed off, it may seem that you are not receptive to constructive criticism. Instead, maintain positive body language. This article provides 10 positive body language techniques to help you succeed.
7. Don’t Be Passive
Just because you are receiving constructive criticism does not mean that you should be passive. Rather, be actively involved during the review session. For example, ask clarifying questions with a positive tone in your voice, which will show that you are not only listening but also being receptive of what your critic is saying.
8. Don’t Give Up
The best advice I could give would be to NOT give up! Just because something you made has been critiqued does not mean that it becomes worthless. It could mean that someone has a opinion that may be different from yours. Or it could mean that you need to go back and make some edits, which will make your work better in the end. But keeping doin’ what you’re doin’!
If you or someone you know needs help reviewing their work, I would be happy to provide my services. I have years of experience as an editor and writer. Learn more about me here. Let’s create something beautiful.