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How to Give Criticism Without Sounding Like a Jerk

https://lifehacker.com/how-to-give-criticism-without-sounding-like-a-jerk-5915687

lifehacker.com

How to Give Criticism Without Sounding Like a Jerk
Taking criticism is difficult enough, but giving constructive criticism can be really tricky, especially when you don't want to completely tick off the person you're talking to. You may not have complete control over how someone else will perceive your words, but you can do a lot to communicate constructively.

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Use The "Sandwich" Approach And Be Specific On The Expected Results

Use The "Sandwich" Approach And Be Specific On The Expected Results

"Sandwiching" your critique between two positive things about the person's softens the blow, and avoids it coming off like an attack. The mix of positive and negative makes people more likely to pay attention to the whole package.

Instead of being snarky and vague, explain why you think your criticism is valid and be specific and constructive about what you think would be an improvement. The former doesn’t inform much and makes people unhappy; the latter at least gives some ideas for improvement.

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Give Feedback, Not Instruction

Keep your criticism to your observations, and the impact they have. Don't try to fix the problem, just identify it.

Offer to help fix the problem, and to support the solution that the other person comes up with. Unless you know how to do the work your coworker is doing, don't try to solve it for them—they'll ignore your feedback and you.

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Give Kind Criticism, And Remember The Point Of It

Give Kind Criticism, And Remember The Point Of It

The point of your criticism is to help someone improve, or to correct a problem, and your feedbacks should carry that message. If you’re doing anything but that, reevaluate whether you actually have legitimate criticism to give, or you just need to talk to someone.

Offer positive and specific suggestions to alleviate the issue at hand, or identify the problem clearly without talking about the person, just the issue.

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Don't Make It Personal

Don't Make It Personal

Criticism by nature can be personal, but delivering it you need to separate your thoughts on someone's work or behavior from what you think of them.

Keep your criticism focused on the specifics that you want to discuss, and avoid the temptation to make judgements of the person or their work based on the specific feedback you want to give. Remember, "you need to respond to urgent issues faster" is not the same as "you're slow." You want to communicate the former, not the latter.

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3. Be Specific With Your Feedback

The more specific your feedback, the more actionable it is for the one receiving it. Example: Asking for an article on communication is vague while asking for one on public speaking is speci...

4. Comment On Actionable Things

To help people improve talk about things they can do something about, rather than those out of their control. Critiquing the former makes your criticism constructive; critiquing the latter makes the person feel bad as they can’t do anything about it, even if they want to.

Understand the person’s situation and his/her objectives, then provide your critique based on that. And if you need to talk about something out of their control, balance it out by talking about things they can control.

5. Give Improvement Recommendations

Give recommendations on what the person can do to improve so they have a clear idea of what you have in mind and get a strong call-to-action.

With your recommendations, (a) be specific with your suggestions and (b) briefly explain the rationale behind the recommendation. Also, try to limit examples to one per point to make your case more impactful.

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Delivering feedback to defensive people

  • Clear content: Choose the right language and imagine you’re a newscaster clearly relaying the most essential information to them.
  • Neutral tone: Remove your emotions from ...

Why We Give Criticism

  • To help someone improve. Sometimes criticism is actual honest feedback.
  • To see a change that we would like. If we regularly read a magazine or blog, for example, there mi...

Why Criticism Hurts or Angers

  • The criticism is mean-spirited. If you use insulting or degrading language or put down the person in any way, they will focus on that, and not on the rest of the criticism.
  • If you focus on the person instead of their actions, you will make them angry or defensive or hurt.
  • They assume you’re attacking them. Some people can’t take criticism in a detached, non-personal way. 
  • They assume they’re right. Many people don’t like to hear that they’re wrong, whether it’s true or not.

How to Deliver Criticism Kindly

  • Don’t attack attack, insult, or be mean in any way
  • Talk about actions or things, not the person.
  • Don’t tell the person he’s wrong.
  • Don’t criticize at all. Give a positive suggestion instead.