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You pour your heart and soul into a blog post and BAM! Someone hits you with a rude, disparaging comment. Should you fire back and show them just how wrong they are?
While it’s tempting to do just that, I advocate you take a breath first. Sit back, relax, go get a cup of coffee, walk around the block or do whatever you need to do to calm down.
Only when you are completely calm and rational should you even think about replying. Now reread the comment and look for something positive. Anything. You might have to look hard, but it’s there.
Maybe they said you don’t know what you’re talking about. Do you? If you did your research, this is your chance to point out the experts who back what you wrote. Perhaps the commenter completely disagrees with your point of view. This gives you a chance to honor the fact that their opinion differs, while calmly and rationally explaining why you hold yours.
The one thing that is paramount to keep in mind is that this is not a fight and should not become a fight. That adrenaline surge you felt when you first read the comment occurred because your primitive brain thought you were under physical attack and needed to defend your life. You do not. This is simply another person on the planet who chooses to view things differently than you do. And that’s ALL it is.
Also keep in mind – as nasty as this person appears to be right now, this is still a living, breathing human being with friends, family, fears, challenges and shortcomings. Don’t escalate the dialogue with confrontation. Instead, allow them to have their opinion. Respect their opinion, or at least give the appearance of respecting it (no matter how off-the-wall crazy it might be.)
Answer calmly, rationally and above all NICELY and politely. Often they will respond to your kindness with kindness of their own, and may even offer an apology. If they don’t respond, don’t worry about it. Your goal is not to win them over; it’s to appear as the same rational, intelligent, level-headed expert your readers expect you to be.
That’s why you’ll always keep in mind that your audience is reading this interaction. If you sink to the level of your detractor, you will lose respect and you will lose readers. But if you fail to take the bait and remain the same cool, calm professional you are, your readers will respect you even more.