Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Constructive criticism begins with "I."
We are able to hear the helpful, critical comments of others if they preface their remarks with "I statements." In other words, we are much more likely to listen to the opinion of someone else when it is stated as their opinion rather than as definitive, objective truth as perceived by every reasonable person everywhere.
When we, ourselves, are offering our opinions to others, we are more likely to be heard in a positive way if we begin our statements with phrases like, "I may be wrong about this, yet this is the way I see..." or "My opinion of...is..." or "I'm feeling...and would like to share my thoughts with you. Would you be willing to listen to what I have to say?" or "I would really like for you to hear my opinion about.... May I share it with you?"
It is further likely to be helpful if we conclude our critical remarks with sincere expressions of appreciation for something we believe the other person is doing or has done "right."