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How to Give Constructive Criticism: 6 Helpful Tips | Personal Excellence

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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How to Give Constructive Criticism: 6 Helpful Tips | Personal Excellence

How to Give Constructive Criticism: 6 Helpful Tips | Personal Excellence

https://personalexcellence.co/blog/constructive-criticism/

personalexcellence.co

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Key Ideas

“People seldom refuse help, if one offers it in the right way.”

A. C. Benson.

“People seldom refuse help, if one offers it in the right way.”

A. C. Benson.

On Giving Constructive Criticism

Sharing and receiving feedback is necessary for improvement. If you have ideas on how someone can improve, don’t hold your ideas back, share your criticism constructively.

Of course, be sensitive to others’ feelings and offer feedback when you feel the other person is ready to take it. Else, you may come across as imposing your views on others, especially if you repeatedly tell them what to do without them requesting it.

1. Use The Feedback Sandwich

Also known as PIP (Positive-Improvement-Positive), it consists of “sandwiching” a critic between two positive comments in the following manner:

  1. Start by focusing on the strengths — what you like about the item in question.
  2. Then, provide the criticism — things you don’t like and areas of improvement.
  3. Lastly, round off the feedback with (a) a reiteration of the positive comments you began with and (b) the positive results that can be expected if the criticism is acted upon.

2. Focus On The Situation, Not The Person

  • Comment on the issue, not the person. Example, “The clothes are dirty” and not “You are dirty.”
  • Don’t make personal attacks. Comments like “I’m so tired of…” or “You’re so... ” come across as accusatory.
  • Use passive voice instead of active to shift the attention from the person to the subject matter. Example: "You were bad." vs "What you did was bad."
  • Share how it affects you instead of how bad it was to shifts the focus from the person and to yourself, which lets the person take a step back to evaluate the situation while giving insight to where you are coming from.

Why The Feedback Sandwich Works

The feedback sandwich lets the receiver know that you recognize what they did right and that you are on their side, thus not attacking them. The receiver then becomes more receptive to your critique.

The feedback sandwich method is most appropriate when you are giving criticism to people you don’t know or don’t know well. Otherwise you may come across as very aggressive and rude if you just jump right into the critique.

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. 

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.

6. Don’t Make Assumptions

Provide criticism within what you know as fact about the person and the subject. Avoid assumptions as they make you and the person look bad — especially when your assumption is wrong.

Making Your Feedback Specific

  • Focus more on objective points than subjective opinions. Saying “I don’t like it” is less helpful than stating the specific things you don’t like.
  • Break your feedback into key points instead of giving it as one big lump.
  • Give 1-2 specific examples of each point. Don't highlight every single example. The intention here is to (a) make the person aware of things they may be oblivious of and (b) illustrate what you mean.

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

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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.

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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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.

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 pe...
For feedback to be effective...
  • Be Specific;
  • Be Immediate: you wait too long, it can have less impact and make it harder for the person to grasp exactly what needs changing;
  • Tie Feedback to Goals: it gives the receiver a clear goal to work towards and reason why you’ve given them this feedback;
  • Ensure Feedback Is Actionable;
  • Use the Right Language;
  • Don't avoid it: when feedback is given openly and honestly, it can be extremely valuable for your organization.
Plussing
Is a way to provide feedback and critique without creating fear or negative feelings, branded by the animation studio Pixar. 

Imagine an art director giving feedback to an animator on some sketches for Pixar’s next blockbuster movie and instead of saying something like “but the characters expression is all wrong,” they’ll frame it using more encouraging and creative words like and or what if: “what if we could make their expression more (enthusiastic, brazen, etc).