The Best Way to Give Criticism

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Do you want to be heard when you’re criticizing someone or have your words run into a brick wall? Try these things to have more success, whether it’s at work or with your family:

1. Make sure you’re not criticizing unjustly. Is the situation really as you understand it? We talked about this from the other side in an earlier post, and now it’s time to make sure you aren’t the one unfairly criticizing someone.

Are you certain your perceptions of what is going on are accurate? Would it make sense to let the other person explain what happened before you criticize?

2. Use the sandwich method: Say something nice/supportive/complimentary, then give the criticism, then end with something nice/supportive/complimentary. Not only is this kinder and gentler, but you’re far more likely to be heard this way. People are more open when they hear something nice first, making them more receptive to the criticism.

3. Examine why you’re criticizing. Are you trying to help the person? Are you angry? Are you competing with the person and want to make sure you get ahead? If you find a loving, kind place from which to criticize, the other person will feel the difference and be more receptive. Be sure your energy is positive and looking for a solution before you give feedback.

4. Suggest a solution, don’t just criticize. If someone is doing something incorrectly, approaching the situation from a team-oriented “let’s fix this” perspective will go a long way toward getting the results you want.

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5. Don’t be mean, don’t curse, don’t get short tempered, don’t be irritable, don’t be sarcastic. Use kind words delivered clearly to deliver your message, such as “I feel.” Call the process an evaluation or giving feedback vs. criticism.

What have you found to be effective when you give criticism?


  1. Margaret Asare-Lartey on 5 March 2013 at 3:46 am

    Hi Meg,

    Kindly give me information on preparation towards retirement.

  2. Meg_Bertini on 6 March 2013 at 1:11 am

    Margaret, it’s on my list to do later this year, but in the meantime have a look at to get you started. Thank you for the question!

  3. Surya Binod Pokharel on 6 March 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Thank you for sharing useful tips how to do the critiques and expected similar useful reading materials in future.

  4. Meg_Bertini on 6 March 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Glad you found it helpful! You might also want to check out