“One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself” – Mark Twain
Criticism is part of the human fabric and takes place in our daily interactions. “No offence, but…” “I don’t mean to criticize but…” There is always a ‘but’ somewhere, as though each person’s perspective prevailed over others. As a result, we do not always understand that there is a fine line between constructive criticism and destructive opinions.
So, what is constructive criticism and how does it work?
The Sandwich Method is an excellent way to convey feedback in a way that is non-confrontational, while encouraging positive dialogue. Here is how it works:
1) Positive comment (praise)
2) Negative comment (criticism)
3) Positive comment (praise)
Example: One of your friends asks you to review their website. While you like it overall, you have noticed a few areas in need of improvement.
1) “I looked at your website and I must commend you for your hard work. I especially like the slogan and menu section.”
2) ”However, you might want to take a closer look at colors and fonts. I notice that they make the content a little difficult to read. Colors are very important in marketing, because each conveys a specific tone/mood. Here is some information for you [links]. As far as fonts are concerned, I would suggest Arial or Times New Roman.”
3) “With that being said, I think that you are totally on the right track. As I said earlier, you did a great job!.”
The sandwich method can only be effective if you are sincere about the reasons behind your positive comments.
I recently blogged about a case study regarding spam. One of my regular readers contacted me to inform me that they were very disappointed by the article. They just said that they had learnt nothing new and strongly criticized the content and subject I had chosen. When I asked them to provide me with examples that would help me understand what they meant, they did not really seem to understand my question.
A long conversation ensued, which made me realize two things:
–The person already knew what spam was before coming into contact with my article.
–They read daily content from some of the most prominent experts in the field; those experts had probably blogged about the same topic.
I came to the conclusion that the person had:
Constructive criticism can never happen when expectations lead the way. Why? Because they are tainted with personal opinions.
Whether it is positive, negative or constructive, criticism is never personal. People do not pass judgement on you. They just react to whatever you create — blog articles, videos, books, music, etc. And truly, you cannot expect the whole world to like you.
Constructive criticism is an art that takes time to master. However, for those who make a conscious effort to practice it regularly, the benefits are really worth it!
Now it is your turn to speak. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.