Chapter Six - Verbal Judo: Learn to talk back when you're under the fire of criticism.
- The only person who can hurt you is you, no matter what other people say.
- If people criticize you, what they say may be right or wrong. If they're wrong, there's nothing for you to be upset about. If they're right, then that's an opportunity for you to improve.
- You can write down what people say and the thoughts that run through your mind in reaction to it. Decide if those statements are logical or not and give logical rebuttals where necessary.
Ways to deal with people who criticize you (who may or may not actually be jerks):
1) empathy - ask the person a series of specific questions designed to find out exactly what he or she means while trying to avoid being judgmental or defensive when asking questions.
2) disarm - find some way to agree with your critic while avoiding sarcasm and defensiveness, and always tell the truth.
3) feedback and negotiation - present your point/view diplomatically.
If you've got a heckler, for example a student in a class you're teaching, you can:
1) immediately thank the person for his/her comments .
2) acknowledge that the points brought up are indeed important
3) emphasize that there is a need for more knowledge about the points raised, and encourage the critic to pursue meaningful research and investigation into the topic.
4) invite the heckler to share his or her views with me further after the close of the session/class.
In conclusion, you can take criticism three ways:
1) think you're no good.
2) think your critic is no good.
3) take the criticism as an opportunity to learn something.
So here's to hoping we all choose number three.