Criticize positively? YES YOU CAN!
When it comes to professional communication skills,
most people have trouble with the whole, “constructive criticism” thing.
If you want to be a truly polished, savvy communicator at work, this is one communication skill you must develop (especially if you’re dealing with difficult people, or negativity in the workplace). You can criticize positively, and therefore effectively, if you learn and use the Criticize with Compliments tactic. Of course there are many different ways we can criticize people effectively and constructively. This is just one technique, but it’s a good one!
Ready? Here’s how you criticize positively–with compliments that aren’t pandering.
The examples in the following steps assume a work environment, but you can easily translate them into your home situation–with your partner or child, e.g.
Step 1- Figure out what the person does well, and takes pride in. Then determine the specific thing you need to criticize (just one thing at a time). Remember these for step 2.
Step 2- Use a verbal pattern such as, “You’re too___to let___diminish that.” (If using different scripts and verbal patterns is new to you, get accustomed to it; they can help you transform your professional communication skills literally overnight.) Place what they’re good at in the first blank, and what you’re criticizing in the second blank.
Here’s how it sounds: “You’re too polished a professional to let something like your wardrobe tarnish your image.” (Translation: I’ve nominated you for What Not to Wear.) A second example: “You’re too good financial consulting to let a personality conflict negatively affect your career.” (Translation: Stop being such a baby, and go apologize to Mary.) A third example: “You’re too proficient an assistant to let something like simple typos distract from your message.” (Translation: Start proofing your emails–they look like a 9-year-old is writing them.)
Use the above tactic if this is the first time you have brought up the particular issue. If it’s the second or third time, I suggest following it up with an, “I suggest…” line, such as, “I suggest we go to Macy’s where I can introduce you to my personal shopper. She’s great, and Macy’s charges nothing for the service!” Or “I suggest you read ‘Anger Management and Conflict Resolution” before you enter into a conflict you’ll regret.” You get the idea. . . .
Remember: Use “I suggest,” not “I’d suggest.” There is a difference. “I’d suggest” is a danger phrase that lacks the power and punch of the more direct I suggest.
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