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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tips for Giving Effective Constructive Criticism


In my previous post, "Giving Effective Constructive Criticism", we looked at some of the potential problems that could occur when giving criticism.

In this post, we will be trying to avoid these problems by exploring some tips as to how we can give effective constructive criticism.

Tips on Giving Effective Criticism

Criticize as Soon as Possible

This may initially sound rather contradictory to some. We have learn that criticisms may result in problems, so why then should we be quick to criticize?

Well, this is because criticism, like praise, is most effective when it is delivered close to the event. The earlier the criticism is delivered, the more effective it will be.

When employing this tactic, however, it is imperative to remember to separate your emotions from your criticism and to offer objective criticism to the other person. Also, remember to avoid criticizing anyone in front of other people as this seriously wounds a person's precious pride.

Be Specific in Your Criticism

Another recommended method in giving effective criticism is to be specific.

When you become more specific, your criticism will naturally become more objective and less emotional. Words become more quantifiable as a result, and less prone to gross generalizations that could occur in the heat of the moment.

Be Certain of the Facts

In the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People", Dale Carnegie suggests "I may be wrong but let's examine the facts". When you criticize or accuse somebody about something, it is imperative that you are sure of exactly what you are talking about.

There may be situations that exist where you might not be aware of. Thus, you should allow and give the other person the opportunity to explain his or herself.

When the person is trying to explain the situation, your body language should also reflect a open and receptive attitude towards his explaination.

Focus on the Positives

Even when you must criticize, try to focus on the positives. Do try to include or suggest ways on how the other person can improve instead of just listing down the other person's bad points.

Before you do criticize, try out this simple step.

Think of 3 positive aspects about the thing in which you intend to criticize before you actually verbalize it. You will find that often times, there is so much good being overlooked and we only focus on the infinitesimally small negative qualities.

In addition, maintain a positive body language to try to balance out the negatively of the situation. The more positively you handle the situation, the better the other person will feel about it and hence, this will increase your chances of success in trying to influence the other person's behavior.

In conclusion, if you do have to criticize, give constructive criticism and give it effectively. Giving constructive criticism helps to improve the other person by providing a valuable source of objective feedback which helps the other person to improve .

Do remember to consider the other person's feelings in all of your dealings and spread positivity whereever you go!


Patricia Rockwell said...

I particularly like the 'be specific' part. As I always told my students, "It doesn't take long to say, 'this is awful!'" It takes effort and time to explain and delineate problems and effort and time to suggest how to improve those problems. But a friend you care about is worth this time and effort.

Unknown said...

The thing is that most of us are in an agitated state when dishing out criticisms.

Having said that, if we manage to calm down and focus on the positive things, we may not even criticize at all. That's the irony, isn't it?

Thanks for the post!

Anonymous said...

Another effective and great post.

Anonymous said...

I love the "be specified" part too. Bravo!!

Anonymous said...

I agree that you make some valid points. Constantly focusing on the negative has a tendency to make people adopt a defeatist position and thus will achieve no positive change.

Avatar said...

For me, the last point of this post is most important.

If one gives criticisms with the intention help the other person and with kind intention, then it would be useful.

Otherwise, the recipient may feel too upset to benefit from your remarks.

Ken Armstrong said...

Nice post. The pussy-cat seems to have benefited from whatever criticism was offered. :)

The Fitness Diva said...

The pic of the smiling cat just gave me a rush of good feelings!

Great visual! ;)

Anonymous said...

I have always had crap negative criticism so by having had my feelings dented bit time I have learned well the art of waking the dipmatic tight rope Men by the way have to be treated with extra care, they are so fragile when it comes t this pint and I know I must be very gentle with my Male counterparts when dishing out constructive criticism l

Interpersonal Communication Skills said...

Good post. If a person becomes defensive and fail to understand how the feedback can be useful, then the feedback becomes pointless.