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Helpful Hints for Sending Criticism

September 21, 1999
Related Topics: Featured Article
Often it’s the criticism’s tone, not the exact words selected, that provokes an employee.

  • Concentrate on establishing a constructive and positive tone. For example, begin with phrases such as, "These skills could enhance your repertoire and make you more effective," and "Here’s how you can improve."
  • Don’t demean employees or make them feel that they are incapable of improving.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes when planning your criticism, and think about how you would feel if someone delivered those comments to you.
  • Rehearse what you’re going to say before the meeting.
  • Make sure the meeting ends on a positive note.
  • Always stay calm and in control.
  • Always be specific.
  • Choose a neutral location.
  • Praise in public, criticize in private.
  • There’s no need to raise your voice in anger.
  • Constantly monitor your tone of voice and body language.
  • Allow some cool down time, if possible.
  • Respect an individual’s space and don’t physically get in his or her face.
  • Walk through the situation so he or she knows what needs to be changed and why.

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