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How To Criticise And Still Be Nice
by Michael Lee
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Have you ever had an experience when someone has told you how fat you've become? Maybe your boss has commented on how bad your work turned out to be. Maybe you've heard from others how people view you as cold and unapproachable.
Hurts, doesn't it?
Believe it or not, some people can be so tactless that they are not even aware when they've hurt someone's feelings. The receiving parties, especially the sensitive ones, may be offended by their remarks. This can result in conflict and arguments.
You know you're doing them a big favour by saving them from shame or disappointment, but will they realise your good intentions instead of feeling hurt by your brutally frank comments or advice?
They might probably think you're too rude or impolite. But what can you do if you really need to assert an honest criticism, but you're afraid of hurting others' feelings?
Want to know the secret?
All you have to do is sandwich your negative comment between two positive remarks. For example, your best friend Paul is going on his very first date. He's all excited and raring to go. Now Paul doesn't have any fashion sense. He's wearing a bland shirt and old jeans. You know all along how he hates to admit that he's wrong. So what will you do to save Paul from an embarassing first date?
Would you say to him that the outfit he's wearing is repulsive? That would hurt his ego.
Well, you can first point out the things that you like in his overall appearance. Comment on his well-groomed hair. Tell him he looks cool when wearing his sunglasses. Ask him where he bought his aftershave because it can certainly attract women like bees to honey. Be sincere and honest.
Then, insert in a nice and suave manner your point of view and advice. You could tell him something like:-
"Your shirt seems to be very comfortable to wear, Paul. Since this is your very first date, I think Sandra (his date) will be much more impressed if you wore something like the outfit that you had on my birthday. You look smashing when you wear clothes like that."
Afterwards, make another positive statement. You could say something like: "You'll definitely make a big impact on Sandra. She'll fall head over heels over your gorgeous appearance and cheerful personality. Have a great time on your date, Paul!"
Do you think Paul would be offended by such pleasant comments? Not a chance. You have wittingly inserted a slightly negative feedback into a plethora of acceptable and ego-boosting remarks.
People love compliments. They believe they've got the qualities, they want other people to intensify the great abilities that they believe to possess. People want to hear their greatness purported from someone else's mouth, and they will be very glad if other individuals know about it.
So if you want to criticise anybody, remember to praise them first. It will leave a positive impression that you're a nice person. Then say what you have to say, but in a smooth and non-offensive manner. Finalise with another positive reinforcement to establish a foundation of goodwill.