How to Offer and Effectively Communicate Constructive Criticism
Criticism has gotten a bad name. The word has become synonymous with nitpicking or being petty. But without true criticism, we wouldn’t be able to grow and get better. The problem is that many people, instead of effectively communicating their criticism, just tell the other person what to do or what they have done wrong. They frame their criticism in a negative way. If you were to finish something, and then someone put down all of your hard work, odds are that you would feel hurt, annoyed, angry, or all of the above. When sharing your opinions and thoughts with a colleague, there are a few techniques to keep in mind. First, offering criticism when none is asked for can be rude and presumptuous. If someone wants your opinion, they will ask for it. Before you offer it, ask if they want to hear it. Second, you should never bluntly tell someone that they got something wrong. Always try to frame your criticism in a positive way. Mention some of the things that they got right before diving into what could use more work. Try to never use negative words or phrasing. Instead of saying something like, “This section is weak. Do this instead,” try saying “This section could be a little stronger. Have you thought about trying this?” When offering constructive criticism, it is really in the way you present your critique, not the actual content of it.
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