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Feb 25, 2021

Podcast 05: How to Handle Criticisms on Your Work

Podcast 01 on what you can learn from the design startup show

Episode Transcript:

Hey guys today on the design startup show, I’ll have to talk more about, um, how it can handle criticisms given by our clients or any feedback that’s given by anyone, um, on your designs. Yeah. And the design work. And I have gotten that a lot. Definitely. Throughout my time as freelancer creating projects for design, for clients, for design clients.

It’s really not that easy because, um, I go through the research. I come up with, um, conceptualizations plans and ideas to help my clients, but somehow, um, you know, they just don’t seem to get it. I’m not sure why is it, you know, How I pretend to them, is it how I articulate what my designs mean? Or this is just that they don’t get it.

Right. So this is an area where it’s really great because you know, this is where we say that design is subjective, right? Uh, but it can be signs for sure. And this week we will leave. I’ll leave this as another topic some other time. Um, but let’s talk about ourselves now because we are our own, the roadblock, um, when it comes to our business and making it work for ourselves, when it comes to income making and generating income and keeping our clients, right.

So we want to, um, make sure that. Our clients are happy with us so that they will come back to us for more. Um, yet we, we, we, we don’t want to keep receiving negative feedback. So, uh, so the one thing that I’ve learned so far, and I feel that all designers should have in their mind, uh, Three, very basic things.

They are basic simple, but they are impactful. So the first one number one is always have a mindset that criticisms are feedback on improvements. That’s it for the first one, right? It’s really how you, how you handle criticism, how you, how you take them as, um, kind of, uh, Improvement comment. You know, I read something in Nelson Mandela’s book, his biography, where, when he was in prison, what could, what can you do?

Right? What could he have done? So what he’s holding himself is, uh, anything, anything can be done outside of him, anything can affect him and his life, like how it is already. But he is the only one who can control his emotions and control his reactions. And this is a game changer for me as a designer is a big one, how he has put it, but it is, it’s a way of reflection, right?

Uh, what he’s trying to say is in all design world, You know, we can come up with something and in the client’s eye, they may see in a different way, and they may comment it in any way they want, because they are being honest and being direct without the feel at that time. The whole, how we are going to react to that or respond to that, it’s up to us.

And that would be our problem in the end. Right? It’s it’s not, it’s not them anymore. It’s how, how we receive it and convert it to something, whether it’s to be better, whether it’s to be something that the client will eventually prefer to have, or not about us. So, so how we have to understand that. It is how we control what we do and what we think about what people see.

So that’s the first thing. It doesn’t directly help you with handling criticism, but it helps you manage that situation when, you know, kind of see something. And then you build, I mean, for me is I feel like, um, all my effort has gone on the drain, right? Mike Mike, I’ve been working on it. I’ve been spending time and it’s like, not for my thing, it’s for a client.

But with that negative feedback, I feel like my world is crushed. Isn’t it? Cause all that 10 hours, 20 hours, two days, four days a week, or even a month, it’s gone on the dream. I could have used the time for my family, for my own projects and you know, probably alone. And more money then than simply doing something for this client who, you know, uh, just took a minute to look at my design and kind of spit me with something that I don’t feel good about.

Yeah. This is how I feel as well. Um, whenever I got negative feedback, uh, in the previous years, but this mindset off. Controlling how I respond, helped me to see, see things in a different way and be grateful. Right. And she’ll already do that. Hey, you know, I have a chance to get better. My client is not seeing that.

Uh, she hates me. It’s not a personal thing. Um, I had this chance, so that’s number one. And the second thing is very importantly. Not to be overly attached to your own designs. Right. So basically this is something that most designers have, uh, in terms of when creating your own designs. And I, myself definitely am guilty of this.

So whenever I created my own design, I put in so much time, but when so much love I, and, and this, I did it. This is how I should do it. I can’t really let go of what I had done. Uh, so if you have this kind of feeling, then maybe the next design that you are creating, put this emotional attachment away so that when ever anyone puts in criticism, you, you will ultimately look at it in a different way.

For sure. You have to try this out. It’s. It’s not like something where you can, you know, I, I’m not giving you a magic bullet where you can just shut off clients without any negative comments. It’s not possible. You can’t tell the client not to give a negative feedback at all. They will want to say what they want to say.

So you’ve got to remove yourself from your design. Uh, every time I designed, this is what I do. Every time I design or I come up with a creative or even my, my team members come up with a creative, I will put myself out of that and tell myself it is a very conscious effort to start. Okay. I tell myself, Hey, this is not mine.

This is my clients. And this creation is for the good of my client. So anything, uh, you know, that is, um, Any concerns about it, it’s not mine. So I kind of put it away from, from who I am and what I’m worth and how, how much I deserve, you know, any, any complements of it is, is, is not something that I want to know anymore.

I have done it already. I, I let it go. So you’ve got to consciously tell yourself to do that and all the time when you build up that habit, it just naturally goes away. No. Whenever clients come with its negative. Criticisms or comments, this feeling of ego bash or feeling like you are not good enough will slowly fade.

I promise you this will slowly fade, but you got to do this work of consciously, uh, keeping yourself emotionally detached, uh, from, from, from your work. That is, uh, the second one and the third thing. Okay, so this, this third thing is, um,

this is one of the most important thing or one of the, one of the most important change that helps me to handle criticism from my clients, which is over the years, working with them, made me realize that clients. Not all clients, not all clients, but most clients don’t know how to articulate what they want.

You see, clients are busy, you are also busy when people are busy, they it’s hard for them to spend time or willing to give up the time to sit down and think how they want to describe. Um, changes required for the design or what they feel that they don’t like about something or what they feel like they like about something.

So we can never expect the clients to, you know, find time or put in the effort. Okay. It takes a lot of effort. So you don’t expect them to take that effort to, um, explain nicely or explain with a good tone. To you on what they, what they feel about design. So let’s say if you come up with a design that they may have said, ah, this is a poor design.

I really, really like this one. Um, you know, the words may be too strong, but they don’t really understand that because they didn’t, they don’t have time to and empathize. Right. And it’s not that they are not people with empathy. The art is just, um, Sometimes they feel like they are already paying you. They feel like that part of exchange is done.

So when it comes to feedback, they don’t know how to feedback. So if you are able to give them say a cheat sheet on, on things like how to improve your designers design, for example, and give them explanation on saying, okay, this is how you speak with designers. Maybe that can help. Right. Which is something that I’m thinking to create as well.

And you can actually, uh, take it away, uh, and use it is, uh, you know, most, most people who, who, um, contract designers or ask designers for help, they don’t find that it’s worth the effort to speak nicely with a better term. Some of them feel that they don’t like that. Um, They just feel that you don’t be direct, you know, be honest.

And that is also okay. You, you, you can stop them. And, but that leads to a point where the designers may not understand what they’re looking for. Right. So on the designers point of view, we should understand this part too, to know that, okay. Um, this is forgiven. No, you, you, you don’t really know how to explain.

And that is why you give such harsh words. You use harsh words to tell me what you are thinking. So this is not being honest or direct. This is being just, um, this is just being no effort on, on the client’s part, in a sense. All right. And it’s not that they don’t value you as a designer. They do. They just don’t know what other.

Consequences or what will happen if they come up with such Anton. So, you know, it’s building trust. And if you are able to build that trust that, you know, if you as a client, what with me, like a partner and give me that respect as well. I will also be telling you that respect with designs and we’ve worked with you and vote for you.

So this is that mutual understanding that. Where, where it’s not so much of direct criticism, it’s more of the tone that they use. It’s uh, if they give a better tone, the feedback on your part, well, you will definitely take it better. Right? So that is an ongoing work with your client, where you may have to also feed back to your client about.

So that is eventually the case. But while, while that is happening, you’ve got to use #1 and #2 first to manage yourself and then #3, you, you in turn feedback to the client that, okay. I understand you are not sure how to put your words. So just let me rephrase how I interpret, uh, your feedback. Right. So they give a negative feedback and you, what you have to do is you have to detach yourself from the design first and understand the customer’s needs what they’re saying and rephrase and give back to the client, what you have rephrased so that the clients can tell you again, okay, you have interpreted it, right.

Or you have to, it wrongly. And that’s how the conversation can help with the, the work itself instead of you feeling unhappy and just emotionally depressed over what the client has initially said. When in fact, hi John, I would say 90% of the time, the clients truly don’t mean how they sound or how negative they are.

It’s really not that. So, um, yeah, I would say, uh, th these are the three that you should implement or, um, or just put in place before feeling really bad about anything of what clients say. So, yeah. Um, let me hear from you. You can, uh, send me a message or just, uh, maybe. Give a review and, uh, you can even ask questions there or go to my website at  dot com.

Send me a, send me a message. If you have questions, go to my LinkedIn. If you want, uh, on the Marilyn goal, that’s my profile. Just send me a message and ask me anything. Let me know if this helps or not. And, uh, I’ll see you in the next one. Thanks. Bye.