My #1 job when I’m working with my speech design clients is to give them feedback on their message. My role is to be a passionate advocate for their audience so my clients create a message that matters. Every once in awhile, a message comes across my desk and I think: Oy vey! This needs to a major overhaul. I go about my work making their message better so that their audience takes action (and buys). But where I get nervous – is delivering the feedback. No matter how great the constructive criticism if delivered poorly doesn’t improve it destroys – destroys morale, destroys confidence, destroys relationships.
You suck and that’s sad
I love happy bunny, but he sucks at giving feedback. This sentence has all the hallmarks of poorly delivered feedback. It’s personal, it’s judgmental, and it’s not helpful! Harsh feedback puts you on the defensive, and you won’t want to listen to what the critic is saying because it’s upsetting.. What was truly sad is when the criticism was actually valid, helpful and good. When delivering feedback here are 3 ideas to keep in mind so that constructive criticism is not lost in poor delivery.
1. Stay positive
Even if the criticism that you present is going to be challenging for the other person to hear, stay positive. If you hated what they did, find something nice to say even if it’s just appreciation for the work they put into the project. Staying positive sends the relational message that you care and just want them to improve!
2. It’s all about framing
Reinforce that the criticism is meant to make the end product better. You realize it might be a lot of work to change, but you are on the same team with the same end goal. Criticism should not be adversarial, it should be for the good greater good. Criticism is all about the other person’s success and propelling them forward in their business or their speaking.
3. Constructive criticism should NEVER be personal
Low blows, insults and being a blatant jerk is not constructive criticism! It’s destructive. It’s unprofessional and should always be avoided. A punch in the gut sends the relational message that the person giving the feedback is superior. They are not – they have opinion just like everyone else. The key to delivering helpful feedback is not to be a JERK! Here’s the trick. Sometimes you think you are NOT being a jerk but the other person could feel hurt. Be sure to check in and get feedback on your feedback. Keep the conversation going. Whether you are the one receiving feedback or the one giving it, always remember: