Archive for July 1, 2008

3 Useful Ways To Handle Your Verbal Critics

July 1, 2008

Tonight at my Club meeting, I was evaluating the Advanced project on “Diffusing Verbal Criticism” from the Interpersonal Communication manual. At The NUS Toastmasters Club, we always strive to make the project a meaning learning experience for the speakers. I’ve also throughout enjoyed such a project because it is a reflection of the daily relationships between people. Criticisms can be widespread and when left unchecked, becomes a part of a damaging culture.

This project also brings to mind my trainings on human relationships, interactions and behaviors. Whenever people come together and mingle, there is always potential for outspoken criticisms to occur. It’s sometimes unavoidable but definitely manageable.

Hence some of the useful ways I’ve recommended for both the speech project and our daily interactions are as follows:

1. Listen while observing. Know when the right time to interject your opinions is. When you attempt to cut a person off too soon, that critic will not be ready to take it lying down while you defend yourself.

2. Acknowledge the emotions displayed instead of claiming to merely ‘understand’. People often seek validation that the common ‘lip service’ or respond.

3. Minimize unproductive phrases such as I don’t know or I’ll try. These phrases might sometimes add fuel to the fire. Work on solution phrases such as ‘This is what I can do’, or ‘let’s discuss the issues openly’.