4 Helpful Techniques For Delivering Constructive Criticism

Criticism — no one likes delivering it, and no one likes receiving it. But whether it’s happening in our personal or professional lives, we have to learn how to deal with criticism. When giving negative opinions, the most important thing is to remain kind and respectful. Here are some more tips to help you navigate a critical conversation!


1. Use the sandwich technique

The sandwich technique involves delivering the negative feedback “sandwiched” between two positive comments. By starting and ending on a positive note, you’ll make it clear that you’re not only being critical. The receiver won’t feel as if you’re attacking them or their work.


2. Be specific

When people are given negative feedback, or any feedback for that matter, it helps for them to understand exactly what you’re commenting on. By giving specific suggestions, it’s clearer that you’re pointing out one thing that should be changed instead of criticizing their work or behavior as a whole. For example, say, “The boldness of the font overpowers the image,” instead of, “The design isn’t working.”


3. Keep it situational, not personal

No one wants to be criticized for their personality or character. It’s easier to accept a critique when you don’t feel like someone is judging you as a person. Focus on the behavior or situation. For example, say, “This dress is not my style,” instead of, “You’re a bad designer.”


4. Say “I,” not “you”

You’ve probably heard since kindergarten that you should be using “I” statements when expressing your opinion. However, this isn’t just a technique for children addressing their feelings. By using “I” to express your opinions, you own your feedback, and you won’t come across as accusatory.


Whether you’re telling a friend they need to be better at communicating or telling your coworker that you don’t like what they’ve written, the guidelines for criticism remain the same. No one likes it from either end, but sometimes we can’t avoid it. The most important thing to keep in mind is simple: be kind.


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