Listen with webreader

This is a post with a video, which means that it’s going to be a relatively short post, since the video is 7 minutes long. I hope you watch it and like it, but based on track record I doubt it’ll happen. But one can hope, right?

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Simon Jobling via Compfight

The topic is helpful criticism and whether what you do is that or something else. When you decide to help someone, solicited or not, are the words you’re using helping that person or making that person want to crawl into a hole and never try again?

The video is going to cover the overall topic, so I’m going to do something different here. I’m going to offer 5 tips towards helping others in giving them advice, or criticism; whichever word you wish to use.

1. Don’t be blunt unless you’re saving their life. If people feel an attack coming, they’ll shrink up before you even get a word out, and most of the time that means whatever your message is will be wasted.

2. Choose your words carefully when it’s criticism that’s coming out of your mouth. If you begin a statement with “you’re the worst writer in the world and here’s why”, who would want to listen to you? Instead, maybe something like “that’s not bad, but I’d like to offer some suggestions if I may”, or something like that.

3. If you’re going to criticize, you’d better offer some alternatives. If you’re such an expert in determining why someone is faulty in some way, you need to be an expert in giving advice on how a person can correct those issues. Otherwise you’re just a blowhard; no one wants to listen to that.

4. Offer some positive reinforcement. Unless someone really messed up and you’re reading them the riot act in some fashion, you need to find ways to make sure that when people leave your company they’re not feeling defeated and demeaned. If people don’t have a reason to improve, they won’t.

5. If you weren’t asked for help, don’t criticize at all. The thing about learning how to listen to others is that sometimes all they want is some support, or maybe some help, without being beaten up for not being perfect.

Here’s the video; I’m laughing at the beginning because I heard a beep and wasn’t sure if I was recording or not. That’s what happens sometimes when you’re doing it live, as I used the live Google Hangout instead of recording the video the normal way. If you actually watch the like the video, please “like” it and comment:

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