This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

The fine art of criticizing

If you're one of those people who has a lot of information that they would like to share, and yet has found that most people just want you to go away, you need to learn the fine art of criticizing. You can also call it correcting, guiding, or critiquing. Done well, it's a very valuable thing to share with other people. Done poorly, it will just make people think that you are a jerk.

The vast majority of people shouldn't try to criticize, guide, or critique others. That's why it's best for them to just click the *like* button, or just say, *wow, I like that!* If you try to correct something, such as someone's spellling, if you don't know how to do it, you are either going to make that other person mad, or at the very least, hurt their feelings.

If you want to criticize, here is how you do it

• You can't be too gentle. And don't ever, ever, start with the criticism - start with something positive. Tone is everything here, whether spoken or written. I told you that this is an art form, and it really is!  When I first started teaching and training in the 90s, I was surprised to find that my voice sounded, well, a little crabby and impatient. I really wasn't, but I sounded that way. What I wanted to sound like was the way that I truly felt - that I wanted to help. So I started practicing on gentling my voice. I turned to a friend who does voice-overs. I listened to people with gentle voices, like Mr. Rogers (remember him?). Be warned that if you do this wrong, your voice will take on a patronizing, condescending tone, so don't try it in public until you've practiced it. A lot. When in doubt, throw in some praise. No one ever gets tired of hearing that they are doing great.

• Provide guidance. You don't have to say, *you're doing it wrong* - that's implied. Instead show the way. I can still see my golf pro in 1991 showing me the correct grip. And, wow, was he right!