How To Give Constructive Criticism: 11 Simple And Effective Tips

Advice and recommendations on how to make suggestions for improvement from our opinion.

Constructive criticism

Constructive criticism is an intrinsic part of the assertive communication process. When we are able to clearly express our points of view, being empathetic with others, we can make good constructive criticism. Of course, it is a somewhat delicate process.

In this article we will see what are the steps to follow to make constructive criticism about the actions, the way of being or the performance of the other person.

What is constructive criticism?

The process of making a constructive criticism responds to several factors to take into account, but the basis of all the suggestions about what can be done to improve something will always be the empathy that you have for the other person.

When we care about the development of another person, in any of their areas, we only want this person to be able to improve their abilities, and for this we need to express what are the aspects in which their way of behaving could change (from Our point of view).

Thus, to carry out a criticism with the best intentions, it is necessary that we be able to put ourselves in the place of the other and feel how things are from their perspective.

Not only is it necessary to think about the consequence of improvement, the final product, but also to consider the present moment in which the improvement has not yet occurred : what concerns, insecurities and expectations does the other have? How can a direct criticism be taken?

How to make constructive criticism?

Here are several tips and advice on how to make constructive criticism appropriately.

1. Have knowledge about the subject

Commenting on something that we do not know is not constructive at all, on the contrary, instead of adding, we will be subtracting.

The most advisable thing before contributing your criticism to a person is that you make sure you have a minimum command of the subject on which you are going to comment. If not, giving your opinion in that way could be seen as unwarranted meddling and a waste of time.

2. Make an assessment of the situation

Before giving your point of view about the performance of a person, it is necessary that you evaluate which are the variables that are influencing the final result. In this way, in your constructive criticism you will be able to provide more exact information on the aspects where the person should improve.

For example, the person may already know that they are not performing well in college, but that this is mainly due not to their lack of organization or study skills but to the simple fact that they work in the afternoons and have no energy left for study.

3. Make sure to include positives

When you are preparing to make some constructive criticism, the ideal is that you do not focus only on the aspects of the person to be corrected, but also take care of highlighting their virtues. This goes a long way toward reinforcing the other person’s motivation to keep progressing.

4. Consider the timing

We must be timely when criticizing positively. It is necessary that we take into consideration the moment in which we are going to express our points of view to the other.

Sometimes it is necessary to wait for the right situation so as not to be disrespectful.

5. Consider the location

As with the moment, we also need to check well if the place where we are is the most appropriate to make the observations that we would like to make to someone about their performance.

The idea is that we manage to motivate to improve, not generate uncomfortable situations.

6. The type of language

Clear language should always be used. Let’s not leave any ideas up in the air, because this can lead to misunderstandings. We must discuss, point by point, what are our observations and recommendations.

We do not want to generate rejection, but a bond of trust with the subject.

7. Reinforce your goals

It is important to emphasize the goals the other person intends to achieve.

It is good to remind you how much you want to do it and that it is worth the effort to achieve it, always making sure that those objectives are achievable based on the possibilities of the subject.

8. Allow the opportunity for replication

Once you finish voicing your constructive criticism, be sure to give the other person the right to reply. It is necessary that the communication is two-way and the other also has the opportunity to give their point of view on your suggestions.

9. Control the tone of voice

The tone of voice we use to communicate our opinions will largely determine how the communication dynamics will be.

We must not be hostile so that the other person does not feel respected. The calmer we are, the better.

10. Take into account the availability of the other person

There are people who are not available to receive criticism, not even as constructive as it may be. In the first instance, we can try an approach to give our criticisms, but if the subject is not receptive to them, it is best not to insist too much.

11. Take into account the possibilities of the other person

Identify if the other person has the necessary resources to change their situation, or if on the contrary it is something that is beyond their control.

In the event that the subject cannot change his real situation, avoid criticizing him, and only offer your support and support to the extent that you can.

Bibliographic references:

  • Bertram, M. (2004). How the Mind Explains Behavior: Folk Explanations, Meaning, and Social Interaction, MIT Press.
  • Griffin, EA (1997). A first look at communication theory. New York: McGraw-Hill.

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