How do You Handle the Haters?

By Jane Atkinson

You look over in the middle of your speech and notice someone who has their arms folded and a major scowl on their face.

What do you do?

I call these “haters”. But that word is probably a bit harsh, but “mildly to moderate dislikers” doesn’t have the same ring to it, now does it?

About 6 times a year I speak to groups of professional speakers. You’d be hard pressed to find a more warm and generous audience. But awhile back one of my audience members was sending me some pretty negative vibes. And when she challenged something I was saying, I felt daggers coming from her tongue and a particularly nasty tone.

(Perhaps I’ve exaggerated this in my mind, since it’s so rare something like this happens).

I responded with my counter argument, and we moved on, but it was hard not to notice her sour look for the rest of the hour.

When you write a book, a blog or give a speech, you are opening yourself up to a certain level of criticism – I guess that’s why more people don’t do it, eh?

So what can we do?

1. Develop a thick skin. I have a feeling that time and experience is the best way to develop this. (Would love to hear your techniques, please comment below, I know you trainers and bloggers have a million stories.)

2. If you get a negative evaluation, look for a lesson in the criticism, if there is none, move on. Let it go.

3. Focus on the percentage (usually 95%) of the people that did like your work. Not everyone will like you, and that’s okay.

4. And my lesson with the woman a few weeks ago – don’t assume that you know what the person is thinking. Rosita Perez, one of the legends of our industry, had a great story about a woman scowling at her and it turned out Rosita looked like her ex husband’s new wife!

See you soon Wealthy Speakers,

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