Don’t Let Negative Feedback Bring You Down

By on December 21, 2009

poor feedbackIt’s an integral part of doing business and sooner or later you are going to come across it as well if you are an aspiring entrepreneur. Negative feedback can strike at the heart, especially if you are proud of the work that you do, as hopefully you are! It’s important to understand that, as much as anything else due to the law of averages, you are going to come across someone who is displeased with what you do for one reason or another. This does not have to be a client either, it can be someone who takes a completely polar opposite view to a post you may have placed on your company blog. This person will vent about her interpretation in the comments section and may cause your day to become rather unpleasant, quite quickly.

It’s important not to get too upset and to let these things become blown out of all proportion. If you express opinions within the articles that you write, the blogs you post or even the direct content within your webpages, then you must realize that other people will have different points of view. Some people choose to air these differences rather vocally and forcefully, while others are more tactful and subtle. As the old saying goes, it takes all types to make a world and you’re not going to be able to agree with everyone, no matter what you do or say.

If you receive negative feedback as a consequence of your work – maybe some articles that you have written or design projects you have undertaken – then you must analyze the situation. Most of us are taken aback by negative feedback and our natural reaction may be denial or disagreement. Never, under any circumstances, immediately fire back a reply to this person, most especially if he or she is a client, without calmly reviewing the circumstances! It doesn’t matter how nasty the negative feedback can be, you must compose a professional and well thought out response.

Try and understand where the person is coming from. Be honest with yourself as well and own up if you are in the wrong. Don’t be tempted to come up with any number of lame excuses or even made up responses, as even though you may feel justified, you should couch your response professionally and appropriately. Where possible, offer to make amends and in the case of a client, go out of your way to smooth things over as best you can.

It’s quite possible that you will receive some negative feedback and have no idea why this should be the case. Sometimes the person at the other end has their own agenda, a particular issue, or is just having a bad day. They may be choosing to vent their feelings at you or your organization and this is just unfortunate. Don’t be tempted to get into a “catfight” especially in a public forum such as blog commenting. Try and resolve criticism and move on in these cases.

To be a successful entrepreneur you need to have the skin of a rhinoceros and must not let negative feedback get you down. Always have pride in your work and pay attention to detail and the chances are that this kind of feedback will be few and far between.

Do you have a way of dealing with negative feedback?

Matthew Toren

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Matthew Toren

About Matthew Toren

Matthew Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of He is co-author, with his brother Adam, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Vancouver, B.C.