One time an older gentleman, with a cowboy hat and a big belt buckle that said "TEXAS" on it, came up to me after a show. In a thick drawl, he said “That warn’t too bad – for a deal lahk ‘is”. Now you don’t have to be in Texas very long to know that this man had given me very high praise, indeed. In the Lone Star State, compliments are handed out in small doses. But he HAD taken the time to come up to the stage, and even waited a minute for me to be done talking with another audience member. So, sometimes you’ve got to read between the lines.
I think we all can agree that you learn very little that is useful from “high-praise rhetoric” like, “Great Show!”, or “You did really well!” They are nice phrases, but seem vague and sort of forced. I much prefer a comment that lets me know how I made the audience feel. There’s one I got a few years ago that is a favorite of mine. “I was in stitches and I heard the guy next to me snort laughingly more than once. I will definitely recommend you when we have entertainment needs.”
I have had many clients leave glowing remarks about my show, but there are a few that took me a while to process. Like, “You are the type of person that carries his own atmosphere around with him.” (Maybe I should stop wearing my space suit on stage) Or, “You speak in a way that makes people want to listen.” (Dang, I could have been a preacher!)
And just to clear something up - criticism is not always negative. Nowadays people use the word "criticism" as the opposite of compliment. But, look it up, criticism can be either positive or negative; constructive or destructive.
How about you? What are some criticisms you have received, that have stuck with you (like dried egg yolk on a suede jacket) ???