Take time to role play how you would have worded your agreement to the person who delivered the criticism, what would you have said and how would you have said it? Think carefully about what body language you would have used, the volume of your voice, your tone and inflection as well as how you would word things in a diplomatic way.
Take your example of a time when someone criticized you and explore if there was anything you agreed with, even if it was just agreeing with the fact you could have spoken softer in the moment.
Although it’s often hard to recognize the part we have had to play in high conflict situations or in the areas we are criticized in, the truth is often not so black or white. If you are being criticized about a high conflict situation take the time to reflect as there is usually at least some way we have contributed to the conflict, whether it be in our tone of voice, the things we said or our actions.
If the criticism does not concern a high conflict situation it is still just as important to be reflective, trying to see things from the others perspective but taking care not to accept it without careful consideration (after all it may be malicious criticism). Try to be as honest as you can when thinking about whether the criticism you received in the example you chose last week was valid in any way and write down the elements of the criticism you agreed with, if any.
Last week we looked at asking questions to those that criticize us (negative inquiry). This week we explore how to agree with valid criticism, a technique called negative assertion.
The following steps are only relevant to situations where you believe the criticism not to be malicious put downs. Remember valid criticism can still be delivered in an accusatory way and that it is the content of what has been said – not the delivery – you need to focus on.
Be Honest with Yourself; Negative Assertion