Be Positive And Specific - Deepstash
Be Positive And Specific

Be Positive And Specific

  • Negative criticism hurts the discussion because things can take an ugly turn from there.
  • It’s easy to give vague criticism. It’s harder still to make a specific, positive suggestion:

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  • 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 might be something that often bothers us that we’d like to see changed. 
  • To further the discussion. Criticism can be a way to get a good, intelligent discussion about something going on.
  • To hurt someone or to vent our frustrations.
  • To boost our ego, to show how powerful or knowledgeable we are.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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No matter how nice your criticism and how much you focus on actions, a criticism is often not the way to go.

A suggestion can be positive, it can be seen as helpful, it can be seen as an instrument for improvement and change.

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Relate to actions

Never criticize the person. Always criticize the actions. 

And when you’re making suggestions, make suggestions about actions, not about the person.

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RELATED IDEAS

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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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 specific.

An specific feedback that doesn’t target the person is easier to understand and act upon. 

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5 dangers of criticism
  • Losing yourself. 
  • Isolation.
  • Self-justification.
  • Bitterness.
  • Revenge.
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