Often, I wonder if a good vocabulary and the ability to weave the words in a beautiful sentence is a boon or a curse. On a blog, it’s perhaps a boon. People read your posts, feel good about what they have just experienced. The like your post, share it and leave a “wow” comment. Elsewhere in life, it may not always work very well.
Feedback, for example.
In this over-sensitive world we are often reminded about providing constructive criticism. Especially at work.
[I stopped after the sentence above for a long while, thinking about how this post would automatically be construed as insensitive if I wrote exactly what I had in mind. I thought of ways of how I would sensitise the post so that it wouldn’t sound insensitive. I spent time searching for what the accepted definitions of constructive criticism are.]
Which brought me back to the problem: because constructive criticism, to me, in the simplest form, is to help someone understand what’s wrong and how it could be made better. Our tone and choice of words influence the reception of our feedback (or criticism); fair. Unfortunately, as I see it, constructive criticism has come to mean an endless shower of a niche sugar-coated vocabulary that’s peddled as appropriate. A straightforward no (which means just that) is often seen as harsh and negative as we allow ourselves to become denizens of this over-sensitised sub-section.
The advantage of a straightforward response is clarity. And while the person giving feedback has certain responsibility, the person receiving it has equal responsibility. Words, tone and body language will play their part – feedback is more important to the one who receives it.
Would you like it upfront (and possibly crude and rude) or do you want to buried under a dump of dishonest sweet talk?