How to develop a thicker skin at work without being obnoxious

I have been accused of many things in my life but having a thick skin has never been one of those things. In fact, more often than not, I’ve been told that I’m hypersensitive. I prefer to think of it as sensitive to the people around me, their needs and our shared goals.

That said, I’ve spent years trying to figure out how to develop a thicker skin. I admire those people; you know the ones – where criticism or abrasive comments leave nary a nicked or wounded ego.

If you struggle with being too thin-skinned, some of these tips might just help:

Make your voice heard

“Take the time to build relationships and develop a rapport with your colleagues,” advised Miriam Daniel, VP of Echo and Alexa devices at Amazon. “As you get increasingly familiar with your team, don’t be afraid to make your voice heard. In fact, demand that your voice is heard.” Daniel said, “We’ve all been in meetings where people have been talking over one another – it’s OK to say, “time out, I have something to say.”

Try not to take it personally

“You develop a thicker skin by changing your attitude and trying not to take things personally,” said Lynda O’Connor Co-Owner of O’Connor Communications, a public relations firm specializing in the promotion of books and authors. “I play tennis 4 times a week, and sometimes a partner says something or makes a sour face if I miss the ball. If you try your best to do something right and you fail, at least you tried, and that is better than not trying.”

Build up your confidence

“Every person has a unique perspective no matter your level or experience – and those perspectives are valuable,” said Daniel. She believes the best way to show off your thinking is preparation. “When you’re invited to a meeting, come to the table with data to back up the points you want to make. This will allow you to speak from a place of strength which builds self-confidence and earns credibility.”

Roll with it

“If a friend or an associate says something that stings, just be like Teflon and let it roll of your body,” O’Connor said. And if someone is nasty, don’t throw shade their way in response. O’Connor advised “Think about the big picture and take the long view. Getting along with people and being kind to them is better than saying something mean back to someone if they insult you. In life, we experience highs and lows, but the lows make us stronger and more compassionate.”

Use your brain

“Did you ever see James Bond cry?” asked O’Connor. “No, when he was in a tough spot, he used his brain and got out of a tough spot gracefully, and that is what we should do.” You can get weepy or feel sorry for yourself later, in the moment try to be as gracious as possible.

Embrace rejection

As for me, the biggest tip I can offer is to learn to embrace rejection.

As any entrepreneur or freelancer will tell you, rejection is just a part of doing business. Sending out more pitches or introductions can help with both increasing your reach and growing your business; it’ll also help you better deal with rejection.

After all, if you pin all your hopes on a single letter of introduction, imagine your crushing disappointment when you receive no reply, or worse, a dismissive or scathing one. If you increase your outreach output, you’ll not only increase the odds of a positive response, you can also better gauge what will or won’t work in the future. And when you get really good at it, you’ll start to treasure the rejection letters that home in on your skills and allow you to improve your abilities for the next round.