Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
As the online world continues to boom, so do the number of online trollers. You spot them everywhere on the internet, mostly making derogatory irrelevant remarks. As a digital coach, I have learned to take their presence in stride and respond with a calm demeanor to not disrupt my sessions, staying focused on my goal.
No matter how confident you are, a harsh or disrespectful comment can throw you off your game, making you question and doubt yourself. Even if it is an irrelevant one that doesn’t make any sense, it can definitely disturb your concentration.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, it is unavoidable — especially when you’re building a personal brand online. Here are a few tips on dealing with online critics while keeping the growth of your business at the heart.
Respond thoughtfully: I use legendary Jack Canfield’s formula (E (event) +R (response) = O (Outcome)) to determine how I want to respond to an online critic. In this case, the event is the criticism and my response to them will determine the outcome of the situation.
Apologize: If there is any truth in what the critic is pointing out and I have made an error, I apologize openly. I believe being honest demonstrates your vulnerability, which helps build more trust in your brand.
Respond with compassion: On the other hand, you will come across critics whose only mission is pulling you down. In such an event, I prefer to voice my opinion and clarify the point without bashing them down. Stand your ground, but do it with a level of compassion.
You may choose to not even confront the person, as you have nothing to prove. If you choose to respond to reiterate your stand, respond with facts, a cool mind and leave it open.
Lastly, don’t take criticism too seriously
You are going to come across people who have different opinions because they come from different backgrounds and have different worldviews and belief systems. Remember: You’re not here to prove a point and you’re not here to put the spotlight on yourself, but are driven to put the focus on helping others.
I’ve had instances where I’ve gotten negative comments on my YouTube videos and I have simply responded by saying, “I respect your opinion and I’m just giving you my views on what has worked for me. You believe what you like and follow what you feel is right for you.”
If you are operating from a place of love, it will show in everything that you do — in your work, in your communication and all other aspects of your work. So continue to stay mentally tough and always stand for what you believe in.
This is, after all, part of being an effective leader. Some of the world’s greatest leaders have diffused opposition through diplomacy, courteousness, logic and most importantly through love.