Communicating Critically

It is hard dealing with problems ourselves. So why do most people choose to not share their problems? One of the biggest reasons is fear of being criticized. It's bad enough we are facing a problem and it's effects. Do we really need to hear someone else heap on the bad news? Especially once we have taken that all important step, Step1, that is to accept that we have a problem?
Sometimes we simply have to. We have to hear the bad news from someone else. Just to make it feel real. But also to get to the part where the good stuff is, the advice or help to solve the problem we are facing. However, if we were given an opportunity to give criticism, would there be a way to do it less painfully?

In the course of the 5Steps, there will be likely 2 times we will have to give someone else criticism.
  • In Step2, when someone is tell us about a problem, we will be tempted to criticize as they tell the story of their problem. Don't give in. Let the person finish. Appreciate that they have given us the trust. Trust that they would normally be reluctant to give. But do take notes, if you need to. Offer it once they have finished with their story. Don't be surprised if you You may find them criticizing themselves before you do.
  • In Step4, we are choosing the best solution from those that we thought of in Step3. We will eventually have to favor one solution over the other. When working in groups especially, this can lead to conflict.  And there may be people who don't agree with our choice. We will be put in a position of not only providing reasons why one solution is better but also criticizing other possible solutions. It will be difficult. We want a good solution not a good fight.
I found this particularly useful article on Lifehacker that gives some tips on how to gain a positive outcome from criticizing. I hope this is useful.

How to Give Criticism Without Sounding Like a Jerk.

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