How to give constructive criticism

At this evening’s support group meeting, we will have a topic-focused discussion on how to give constructive criticism. We will refer to two of the tutorials listed on my page about Constructive criticism and responding gracefully to criticism.


Here are the two tutorials:

The article by Clifford Lazarus has the following summary/outline at the end:

  • Try the “sandwich method” as much as possible.
  • Practice requesting positive change in the future instead of complaining about current behavior.
  • Deliver your messages in the form of I-statements rather than You-statements.
  • Finally, keep in mind that giving criticism is a skill that, like all skills, can be mastered through learning and practice.

The Personal Excellence tutorial does not have an outline, but I’ve put together the following outline from its main section headings:

  1. Use the Feedback Sandwich
  2. Focus on the situation, not the person
  3. Be specific with your feedback
  4. Comment on things that are actionable
  5. Give recommendations on how to improve
  6. Don’t make assumptions

Below is a summary outline of the first three of the six sections of the Personal Excellence tutorial.

1: The feedback sandwich has 3 parts:

  • Positive
  • Improvement
  • Positive

2: Focus on the situation, not the person:

  1. Firstly, detach the situation from the person.
  2. Comment on the issue, not the person.
  3. Don’t make personal attacks.
  4. Don’t use active voice; use passive voice.
  5. Share how it affects you.

3: Be specific with your feedback:

  1. Focus more on objective points than subjective opinions.
  2. Break your feedback down into key points.
  3. Give specific examples of each point.

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