Offering half-hearted positive advice along with a negative comment is like offering someone a slice of dry bologna between two pieces of stale bread. At the end of the day, it’s still a stale sandwich and the receiver will walk away with a bad taste in their mouth.
By using the following strategies for providing constructive feedback, the receiver will likely walk away with a good feeling in their gut:
- Don’t just say something good; say three good things! For example:
- “You completed the task on time and with minimal supervision.”
- “I liked the presentation.”
- “The results are useful and we will pursue this further. Thank you!”
- Make sure criticism it is presented as a suggestion for improvement and not as a slap on the wrist. Always remember to select the most important parts to improve, rather than a long laundry list of items.
- “I have one tip for you…”
- “A minor area of improvement would be…”
- “If you considered adding this, I feel that it would add impact…”
- End off feedback positively with one more “good” thing they did well. Driving home the positives will keep that person feeling great. For example:
- “What I love the most about your project is how simple it is for us to use. Well done. I look forward to seeing more of your work in the future!”
Constructive criticism done right can effectively eliminate roadblocks in communication, keep people motivated and encourage them to perform at their best. This not only avoids a lot of frustration, but can also save money and time down the road if people are able to make the necessary changes to improve their performance.