Re: Constructive Criticism (WAS:Should I Say Something?)

Subject: Re: Constructive Criticism (WAS:Should I Say Something?)
From: "Parks, Beverly" <ParksB -at- EMH1 -dot- HQISEC -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Mon, 17 May 1999 12:12:04 -0700

Good topic, Lisa. When criticizing, even when the criticism was solicited, I
think it is best to say what you don't like, why you don't like it, and
maybe *suggest* what you think might work better. Suggestions, though, are
not necessary. The what and the why are most important. And it also helps to
include positive comments; say what you like about it.

I think the worst thing to do is to completely rewrite or redesign something
yourself as a form of criticism. The unspoken comment with doing that is
"Here's how I would have done it. Isn't mine better than yours?" SOMETIMES
this method works, but most of the time I think it will backfire. I've
experienced it both ways.

The time it worked was when I had asked a group of people to critique one of
my websites. It was a general critique request, mostly for design, but I
welcomed any input. There was one particular section of text that I *knew*
was unnecessarily verbose and I had tried to trim it down several times
unsuccessfully. Every time I would try to edit it, it ALL looked essential.
I was too close to it. One of the critique-ers also recognized that it was
longer than it needed to be and actually took the time to rewrite that
section for me and submitted it as part of his critique. He did a fantastic
job and I was exceedingly grateful for his effort. With his permission, I
used almost all of his rewrite. He had no way of knowing that I had been
trying to shorten that section myself and was quite frustrated that I
couldn't find a way to reduce it.

Had he sent me a rewrite of a section that I was completely happy with, my
acceptance of it might not have been so enthusiastic.

The best thing to remember about receiving criticism is that it is basically
FREE CONSULTING. Many people hire consultants for large sums of money to
tell them what's wrong with their work. When someone wants to offer you
criticism, accept it gracefully. They are doing you a favor!

Bev Parks

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Comeau, Lisa [SMTP:Lisa -dot- Comeau -at- MOH -dot- GOV -dot- ON -dot- CA]
[snip]
> How can we, as writers, editors, reviewers, etc., foster a more
> "constructive criticism oriented" workplace? If we are not asked for our
> opinions, should we give them anyway for "the good of the company"? Should
> we wait until our opinion is sought? (I know in some places, we'd be
> waiting
> until Hell freezes over) How do you personally handle "constructive
> criticism" - both dishing it out and taking it?
>
>

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=




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