Constructive Criticism - Deepstash
Constructive Criticism

Constructive Criticism

However needed it may be, people often view criticism as hurtful and feel attacked. And that puts them on the defensive, meaning they won’t be able to truly absorb what’s being criticized.

That’s why constructive criticism is a helpful skill to develop when dealing with other people. Knowing how to do it drastically affects how the message is received.

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9 Tips To Give Constructive Criticism
  1. Use the "feedback sandwich" method when advising. Give a positive comment, then the feedback that could potentially be construed as criticism, and finish by reiterating the positive. That way the criticism is "sandwiched" between two positives, making it seem less harsh.
  2. Focus on the situation, not the person. This helps preventing the other person from feeling attacked.
  3. Think about timing when you give feedback. When emotions are running high people tend to become less receptive to criticism.
  4. Use A "Straw Man" to illustrate your point. "Try to give the critique through a personal anecdote or an inspiring story of someone famous who went through the same thing.
  5. Offer specific suggestions. This keeps the discussion focused and gives the other person a concrete area of improvement.
  6. Keep your language positive and avoid negative statements. It helps to set the tone of the entire exchange.
  7. Stick to "I" statements. Using "I feel" statements over more accusatory "you" statements works.
  8. Be conscious of your tone. If you're coming off as stern, or angry, that may trigger someone’s defenses.
  9. Think about if it really needs to be said, or if it doesn't need to come from you. Sometimes it's better not to say it. Nothing can be more off-putting than unsolicited advice.

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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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Negativity bias and feedback
Receiving criticism will always have a greater impact than receiving praise.

And we remember criticism strongly but inaccurately. But although criticism is more likely to be remember incorrectly, we don’t often forget it - almost everyone remembers negative things more strongly and in more detail.

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Negative vs. Positive Feedback
Positive feedback isn’t the best way to drive results and negative feedback isn’t actually all that bad:
  • Any negative feedback should be clear and timely yet not so harsh as to be perceived as criticism.  
  • As for positive feedback, make sure that it doesn’t overshadow any key negative points that need to be addressed.

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