Whether you’re telling your partner they’ve made an error, or explaining to a client that you disagree with their direction, giving feedback isn’t always easy (or well-received). Leo Babauta, creator of Zen Habits, shares some tricks for giving criticism without being critical, and here are our favorites:

  • Frame your feedback as a suggestion or possible solution, i.e. “What if we tried red instead of blue?”
  • Keep it positive, i.e. “I love what you did here, but what if we changed this…”
  • Be specific. Instead of saying, “your article could be better” (which is hard to hear) say, “I think the intro could be more direct and engaging.”
  • Be kind. Delivery is everything when it comes to giving criticism, so remember to be gentle and empathetic as you make your suggestions. 
  • Make sure your criticism is actionable. There’s nothing worse that receiving feedback on a project that’s already been submitted. Make sure your criticisms are actually executable before voicing them aloud.

Read Babauta’s full post here.

  • Ravi Sandhu

    Very good.

  • Ashleyj

    I would say the best thing I’ve ever learned about giving criticism is make sure you have permission. We all have opinions, but we don’t always have permission (or authority) to share them. If you’re not seen as an authority, your feedback won’t be as well-received as if it were solicited.

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