Radio Presenter Tip #9 | Coping With Criticism

Radio Presenter Tip #9 | Coping With Criticism

Here’s the next in-depth Radio Presenter Tip “Coping With Criticism”.

    • Who Is Likely To Criticise You
    • How You Will Feel (& What To Do With Those Feelings)
    • The One Thing You Must NEVER Do!

Press play on the video below to watch now.

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To check out Module 1 of my new “Better Radio Presenter” Course 100% free of charge, visit http://ThePresenterCoach.co.uk/radio


Hi, my name’s Kate Cocker, and I’m the Presenter Coach, and I have been working with radio presenters now for nearly 20 years, whether that be at grassroots, are at national, top of the game level.

I’ve worked with loads of presenters across that range, and the one thing that comes up all of the time, no matter whether you are at the top of your game or just starting out, is how to deal with criticism, because you know what? The minute that you put your head above the parapet, someone somewhere is going to think that it’s okay to text you at the studio, or to tweet you, or to put a Facebook comment, or something like that saying something like, “You’re a buffoon.”

And I’ve seen loads of radio presenters deal with this in loads of different ways.

Some radio presenters like to just ignore the text console in the studio, so they completely ignore it, and they let their producers give them the texts. Now, in some cases, that’s not possible because, in some cases, you don’t have a producer, so you kind of have to see the interaction coming into the studio. And it’s almost impossible to ignore it.

The other thing I hear a lot is presenters will go to their producers, or to their bosses, or people in the studio and they’ll go, this has happened, isn’t it awful? And the reaction is, oh, just ignore it! Which is really difficult, because it’s coming directly at you. It’s really hard to just ignore it.

But the one thing I would say is to try not to react with it.

I worked with one presenter who made a mistake on air, and it got misconstrued, and whipped up, and on Twitter, and it was so hard for him to not reply to those arguments and the things that people were saying about him on Twitter, which weren’t even true, but he just had to ignore it, because if he’d engaged, it would’ve just made it worse, and you can’t control the tone of voice that people are reading what you have written.

So, try not to engage with it.

However, I have heard of presenters, and I’ve worked with presenters who have called people back who texted them, and that has had varying degrees of success for them. But again, it’s not about shaming these people, so don’t put that call on air. Just maybe have a conversation with them and say, did you know that I got that? And most of the time their reaction is, oh my goodness, I’m so sorry, I didn’t think you’d see it.

Now, the one way that I have found that a lot of the presenters that I work with do really like, there are two ways to look at this, and both of them were pointed out to me by reading the work of Brene Brown, who is a vulnerability expert, shaming expert. Academically, she’s brilliant, and I really urge you to read her work. But there are two things that she says.

One is that, most of the time, judgement comes from a place of insecurity. In fact, it’s almost formulaic. The things that you judge people on are usually the things that you feel the most insecure about. So, I can pretty much guarantee to you that the text that’s come into the studio that says, “You’re a buffoon!” is from someone who is working really hard to not be a buffoon all the time. And you think about it now, the times that you have judged, you’re probably judging people on the things that you’re working really hard, or maybe you don’t really like about yourself.

So let’s apply some compassion, let’s apply some generosity to the way that those texts are received, and if someone is saying to you, “You’re a buffoon,” they’re probably not in a great place, whether they know that or not.

The second thing that Brene Brown drew to my attention was a quote by Theodore Roosevelt, which I think you’ll see it get passed around a lot, but it’s brilliant, so I’m going to read it to you now.

“It’s not the critic who counts,
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles,
or where the doer of deeds could’ve done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust, and sweat, and blood,
who strives valiantly, who errs,
who comes short again and again
because there is no effort without error and shortcoming,
but who does actually strive to do the deeds,
who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions,
who spends himself in a worthy cause,
who, at the best, in the end,
will triumph by achievement,
and at the worst, if he fails,
at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be
with those cold and timid souls
who neither know victory nor defeat.”

So what he’s saying is that you have taken a risk. You have put your head about the parapet. And if anyone is going to give you criticism, it needs to be from someone, and it needs to be feedback, and it needs to be constructive, from someone that you trust who is in the arena with you, whether that be a coach, whether that be your boss in a coaching environment, or whether that be from another presenter who has asked you if they can offer you some feedback.

Criticism is something that you can allow to roll off your back if it’s coming from a place where they are not doing the work that you’re doing, and they are not sat in that arena with you.

You deserve to be taking risks and only hearing criticism from people who are taking those risks with you, like you.

And I hope, and I’ve used this tonnes of times now, that actually what it does is it makes it really simple for the presenters that I work with, because they just go, right, I don’t need to listen to that anymore. Am I satisfying my customers’ needs? Yes, I am. Are they saying mean things about me? Well, that one is, and that’s okay, because that’s the only one that is in today, and you know what, they may be in a bad place, so I’m just going to ignore it, for want of a better way of putting it.

So, I really hope that those two things really help you with how you deal with criticism, and just allow it to roll off your back, because actually, you’re taking a risk, you’re putting yourself out there, and that takes a lot of courage, so you should be proud of yourself for that in the first place.

For more tips about radio presenting, or whether you want to be a better radio presenter, head over to my webpage at thepresentercoach.co.uk/radio, and there you can download the first module of my Better Presenter course, completely free.

Your Biz Your Way: The Presenter Coach

Your Biz Your Way: The Presenter Coach

Author of “Your Biz Your Way” Judith Morgan , asked me to write about how I do my business my way as part of her blog challenge.
So as a bit of background for you: I am hugely passionate about helping people to be more assertive and to tell their stories so that they can advance their business, career or just improve their life. I set up The Presenter Coach in 2016, after leaving a full time job (I burnt out). Having had experience working freelance, and running a similar business with a good friend previously, I knew I wanted to go alone. My family life required me to be able to choose what I did, and when I did it – as did my mental health!
There are 2 things that help you build your business or career:
  1. Be good at what you do
  2. Tell people about it
I specialise in helping people with the second part (unless you are a radio or tv presenter in which case I help you with both parts). Most people reach a point in their business growth or career where they have to stand in front of people and speak. Whether that be pitching, speaking at conferences or just getting better at interviews.
My aim with The Presenter Coach was that I wanted people to feel like they were being heard. Even today, I want people to see or hear you speak in public (on stage, on air, on screen) and think: “I want to work with you”.
The current structure of my work looks like this:
I coach a lot of 1-2-1 clients: radio & tv presenters, & business owners looking to get better at speaking online and on stage. I run training courses in public speaking, I run networking and storytelling workshops, and I have created an online radio presenter course.
  • How do you run Your Biz Your Way?
Analogy time: When I go climbing I like to climb without a harness. I love the freedom, the rush, the risk, and you’ll find me up as high as my strength will take me (plus a bit more – I like a challenge)
The minute I have a harness on the terror sets in. I feel restrained and that something terrible is going to happen. I won’t feel confident climbing so high, and I also have to rely on the person below to catch me if I fall.
Running my own business is just like climbing harness-free. I’m not restricted by convention (although I like to learn from it). I experiment, I learn from my mistakes, and I answer to my clients – no one else.
I ensure that I play to my strengths and passions. I value helping people, personal growth and my family. My strengths are being organised, enthusiasm, coaching, learning, creativity and constructing content. I enjoy serving clients, and constantly finding new ways to improve their experience.
  • What do you do differently in your work that illustrates running Your Biz Your Way? Why did you make up your mind to do it like that?
I made up my mind to ensure that my work and life were equally fulfilling. I don’t think of organising my time to show “work/life balance” I think of all of it as “life”. This means I use traditionally “work skills” in family life: my kids are constantly coached! Equally I value “life skills” in my work: if I am not feeling enjoyment or challenged from something I scrap it.
When I worked in my full time work, I found that I never had time to “sharpen my tools”. I love learning, and I find that everything I learn pumps it’s way back in to the service I provide and in turn my profit. So I now mark time in my week for learning. I read, do online courses, listen to podcasts – all in the bid that the next coaching session with my next client will be better for it.
I also have a rule: if I get asked to do something that terrifies me, I say yes.
  • How do you go against the grain or against the received wisdom in ways which make you happier in yourself, more productive and more abundant in your biz?
I am regularly looking for unique ways of doing things. My public speaking course is spread over 6 weekly sessions, rather than being delivered in one day. It is designed to highlight the need for rehearsal.
I used to think that to be successful I had to work every minute available, and I would sacrifice my health for it. This was a received wisdom, from watching leaders email at 11 at night, or the online business world revealing being up till the early hours of the morning. There is a time for working in this way, but over a period of time it always ends in one way: burn out. As a result I now make time for my fitness and sleep.
There is one thing I have done though, that people seem to identify as controversial:
When I was in my 20s I read an article about motherhood in different decades. The woman that had become a mother in her 40s said that “rather than get someone else to look after your kids, get someone to do the jobs that mean you have the time to be with your kids”.
Knowing that time with my family fulfils me the mos, I took heed of that article. I now employ someone who comes to my house 4 evenings a week to do the laundry, load the dishwasher, and set the house back to normal. We have quality family time as a result and I am more productive in my business.
I love climbing this business world without the harness. I love taking strategic steps, seeing if they work and then manoeuvring to be better. Finding my support network has been vital and finding one that works for me, revolutionary. Mostly, being the best mum I can be is at the centre of everything I do: giving love, being supportive and being a role model for them. This means making sure I am fulfilled and healthy is priority number 1. My biz my way is the way that I can achieve this.