Criticism -- even the kind that truly is constructive -- is never really all that easy to hear.

As humans, we know we aren't perfect. However, that thought alone typically isn't enough to stop us from crossing our fingers and hoping that all of our projects or efforts will be perceived as completely flawless.

You know constructive feedback is helpful, but that doesn't mean it doesn't sting every now and then.

But, as much as you might want to shy away from any constructive input that's tossed your way, the smart thing to do is to use it to learn, grow, and improve. And, what's the best way to do that? Well, using these six tips is a great place to start.

1. Focus on the Meat and Potatoes

When receiving criticism, it becomes all too easy to get so wrapped up in the tone or who exactly is dishing out the comments, that you completely lose sight of the actual content. You fail to actually hear the advice, because you're too obsessed with how it's delivered.

Try your best to focus on the meat of the message and tune out the rest. After all, it's hard to implement constructive criticism if you have no idea what it actually is.

2. Recognize Pure Intentions

As mentioned previously, receiving criticism is never easy -- no matter how politely it was presented. But it's important that you take a minute to recognize the pure intentions of the people who are offering you feedback.

Remember, in most cases, these people genuinely want to give you useful input and help you to improve. And, that's far better than the alternative of people who nod along enthusiastically as you churn out mediocre work.

3. Start a Conversation

Feedback isn't something that you just need to accept with no questions asked. In fact, you shouldn't. Asking for further clarification from the person offering you criticism is a great strategy.

Think of that person's input as a launching point for a conversation during which you can get extra details, further insights, and all of the other need-to-know information you require to truly use that criticism to learn and improve.

4. Give it a Try

Remember, you don't have to agree with every single piece of feedback you receive -- even if it is well-meaning. However, you owe it to yourself (and the person who took the time to suggest an alternative) to at least give other input a try.

Go ahead and implement some of the suggestions you received. Some you might ditch and some you might keep. But regardless, you're sure to learn some valuable lessons.

5. Ask for More

If someone's input has been particularly helpful to you, never hesitate to go back and ask for more -- especially if you'd like further feedback on how you've implemented the advice.

Yes, it can feel a little counterintuitive to ask for even more criticism (when it's something we all tend to shy away from to begin with). However, continuing a productive conversation will yield awesome results for both your relationships and your project.

6. Be Gracious

Speaking of counterintuitive, explicitly thanking someone for poking a hole in your idea undoubtedly fits that category.

But, it's important to remember this: That person took time out of his or her day in the interest of helping you improve. And, that's deserving of your sincere gratitude in the form of a hearty "thank you".

No matter how hard constructive criticism can be to hear, there's no denying the fact that it's an amazing chance for you to learn, grow, and improve. Use these six key tips, and you're sure to use that feedback to your advantage.

Published on: Sep 16, 2016
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