Criticism can be a hard pill to swallow. Yet it’s a core part of just about any creative work, from photography to copywriting, painting, dance, etc. Reviews and opinions actually play a role in the growth of a creative, but the bigger challenge nearly all of us face is how to deal with it like a champ.
Admittedly, it can be really difficult to get used to having random strangers or your clients shove their two cents down your throat, telling you how to do this and that when you are clearly the expert.
But what most of us miss from time to time is that you could actually use this to your advantage, especially when it’s constructive criticism. Let’s start off with a detailed look into that.
How Constructive Criticism Can Build You Emotionally and Professionally
First off, understand that criticism is basically feedback. For example, if you are a professional photographer in Kenya and you have just completed a photography project and presented the final work to a client and they go on to voice what they feel about your work (whether positive or negative), consider it an opportunity to get to know them and learn how to turn them into satisfied customers.
Before you become defensive, take time to think about how you could use the feedback to your advantage e.g. knowing what your client(s) /audience really wants or desires. In fact, this kind of criticism can give you a competitive advantage when working with a particular client because you have valuable information that no one else has. This may mean, no one else can snatch the customer away from you – if you apply their feedback to improve and/or fine-tune your work to their likimg.
Constructive criticism can substantially help you to make your service or product better in the long term. Think about this: How else would you know whether or not what you’re offering is good enough and that your customers love it? Well, honest reviews is the answer. From them, you will know what’s working at least from your customers perspective and what you may need to do better.
Learning how to deal with criticism and rejection additionally helps to develop enormous emotional strength.
How A Creative Person Can Begin To Be Receptive To Constructive Criticism
So long as you belong in the creative space, there’s always going to be someone who has something to say about your work. That’s in addition to your own clients.
Choosing to do nothing isn’t as wise or helpful as you might think. The very act of you sharing your work with the world or offering particular service/products to clients opens the door to constructive criticism, opinions, and other forms of feedback.
So it’s only fair that you learn how to deal with this gracefully, and here’s how:
Always take time to reflect on what a client or critics tell you. Look for merit in their feedback and at the same time figure out whether the person is just a troll or someone who understands what they’re saying.
A good example of a valid example would be someone telling you ( say, a photography professional in Nairobi) that the sound quality in your videos is wanting or the contrast in your photos is loud. However uncomfortable constructive feedback sounds, always analyse its worthiness.
If possible, look at ways of improving your work to match client or user expectations, especially if the feedback is repetitive. At the same time, be okay with the fact you cannot please everyone all the time.
Bear in mind that someone not liking your work doesn’t exactly translate to you being a failure. Nope! That’s very normal. A proper reaction would be not to obsess over the feedback but to have it serve as your catalyst to do better or push yourself further.
Now, if someone says something that’s very unkind, rude, or not helpful at all, remember the saying ‘”never wrestle with a pig”. That’s because you will both get dirty and guess what, the pig will like it. You can kill them with kindness or simply ignore them completely. Remember, engaging in the negative could reflect badly on your brand/business.
How To Identify And Deal With A Difficult And/Or Hard-to-impress Customer
Sometimes you will encounter clients that are difficult to deal with or hard to impress. You may be tempted to get into an argument with them, but avoid this path early. It would actually be better if you turned the back-and-forth talk into a discussion on how to best find a solution to the problem.
At Clinet Media, we always want our clients to know that we can actually listen to feedback, respond correctly, and are dedicated to finding a solution. However, if every possible thing you have tried fails to work, politely wind up the deal or partnership, and exit with your reputation unharmed.
To conclude, understand and accept that criticism will always be present provided you remain to be a professional photographer in Nairobi or videographer, writer, painter, singer, or any other professional in the creative industry. So continue to learn how to deal with it and how it can actually help you take your business or what you do to the next level.