3 Steps to Answering Negative Feedback Gracefully

Wouldn’t it be great if every piece of work we created was accepted with applause and absolutely no changes whatsoever? If only. When it comes to creative work and negative feedback, there always tends to be a little extra tinge of hurt, even if the criticism is well meaning. Often when we make something creative, little pieces of our souls are imparted into our work.
 
So when we receive negative feedback on creative work, how are we supposed to accept the feedback gracefully when it hurts? This is how I (try) to approach negative feedback.
 
1. Take a Step Back
 
My first inclination is usually to wallow in misery for a while, but I know this isn’t a productive form of managing my emotions in this type of situation. Taking a moment to step away from the perceived slight always helps. Sometimes I need 20 minutes, sometimes 24 hours, but I’ve found that after a little time, the criticism seldom seems as harsh as I first perceived.
 

2. Don’t Sell Myself Short
 
When I’m prepared to address the criticism, it’s important for me to acknowledge the criticism, but to follow with reasoning for my decision and a reminder of my expertise as an artist.
 
Because let’s be honest, not all criticism matters. If the person delivering the criticism has no credentials and no history with me, it’s just their opinion. And when it comes to my work, not every opinion matters. Sometimes I choose my battles and this battle may not even be worth showing up to.
 
3. Over Deliver
 
If my client ever has any question as to whether I am a badass at my job, I do my best to show them how amazing I am.

I’ve found the best way to get referrals and have my clients return is to make them fall in love with me. One misstep will not destroy my prospects of getting my client to come back to me. When I’m willing to go above and beyond to deliver their product, I’ve likely made myself a returning customer.
 
If I am able to exercise a little more patience, a little more understanding, and a little more grace, those things are extended to me too. Receiving negative feedback can ruin my day – but it doesn’t have to when I address them in this way. How do you address negative feedback?

Madison Starke

Design * Illustration * Branding * Animation