Be A Blunt Axe
Something that was taught to us early on in College was how to make a “compliment sandwich.” I’m sure many of you have heard this term before, but for those of you who haven’t, it’s a communication tool that can keep yourself humble when confronted with the daunting task of giving others critical feedback on their work.
The idea is that you as the critic would point out a positive aspect about their work or concept, the top layer of bread if you will. Then you’d follow this by mentioning something they could improve upon, which is the meaty and true substance of the discussion. At the end you’d conclude by providing another positive aspect, a la the last bit of bread. The reason we had to come up with this step-by-step process when approaching a critique environment was to avoid hurting anyone’s feelings. Rather than declaring an idea as stupid or bad, which honestly helps to accomplish nothing aside from increase the size of a critic’s ego, we had now formulated a way of give important and in-depth feedback that would actually help to improve an idea by simply being kind and genuinely interested in helping. Keeping to this method, people were much more adept to make the suggested improvements rather than declare themselves a failure, giving up before they’ve even begun to start.
It’s important to remember that your feedback can and should be honest and frequent, but kindness prevails over being an asshole (every time). By being empathetic to the person receiving the critique, you get a better sense of what’ll help them improve, rather than just tearing them down. With this, your critiques become genuine and no longer appear as a means to stroke an inflated ego. Without this, the whole world would be filled with broken hearts and ego-powered douche-bags. As they say, “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”. Let’s keep our eyes and hearts intact.