Does the idea of a performance review fill you with dread? You’re not alone.

For most of us, receiving constructive criticism is at best, challenging, and at worst, extremely difficult.

Unfortunately there’s just no way around it. Studies show that if you want to see lasting personal growth and improvement, feedback is essential. No pain, no gain.

So, how do we become better equipped at dealing with constructive criticism?

We asked Dr Louise Mahler, an expert in body language, voice and emotion, to share some of her wisdoms. Here’s her key advice for keeping cool under the collar…

See the experience as a stepping stone

“Remember, we are all just systems of habitual patterns. It is about identifying those habits, discovering something new and making changes. Discovering a bad habit is a gift.”

Put feedback in context

“Always put into perspective who is giving the feedback. It may be about them, not you.”

Breathing exercises are your friend

“The Kapalbhati Breath is an essential tool helping to overcome stress. It is a short sharp  out-breath with the stomach going in. It kicks the diaphragm free.”

Find your rest position

“This is the position where the body is lined up so that you can breath easily and the gestures and face are neutrally positioned. For me, this means my feet are one-foot distance apart and my hands are hand on wrist, hanging long on the body.”

Move around

“Your body freezes under stress. You need to move around to kick-start the body and regulate your breathing. A good, simple move if you’re in a tense meeting is to pull your chair in under you.”

Think of communication as a sport

“To keep improving your communication and response to feedback, see it as a game. Like tennis, you have to practice and practise and practise to get better. It is nice when the shots go in and the communication lands.”

For more information about Dr Louise Mahler, visit her website.


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