A Buddhist response – Before offering criticism, consider your intentions. It’s easy for ulterior motives to color the feedback you give. How are you entering the conversations? With judgment? A desire to control. Are you hoping to intimidate -or to encourage? The buddha said to ask yourself three questions before speaking 1) Is it true ? 2) is it necessary 3) is it kind? I interpret kindness in this case as constructiveness’ you heart is in the right place and you do actually want to shed light on something to help the other person grow or improve, then that’s the right reason. The truth can hurt – but sometime the most loving, wise consciousness act is to let one feel the sting rather than avoid it. Lastly realize that you can give the best, kindest feedback in the world and have it rejected. That’s OK. You give what you can, give it with love, and the rest is up to the recipient.
A career coach response- We often assume that when we draw attention to what someone has done wrong, they will know how to fix it. This is not always the case. Don’t go into feedback-oriented discussion without having some concreate improvement strategies for the other person. Timing is important, too – so be mindful of whether you’re giving advice perhaps too soon (say moments after a big presentation when the speaker may be most vulnerable to criticism. )Allow a day to pass but not much more, or else in some cases the issue may gather to much importance and become weightier than it needs to be. Despite it all, no matter what you or when, the other person may get upset.
A writing Instructors responds – Start with that the other person has done right, not wrong and acknowledge the things that are working. Then move on to what isn’t effective and explain not only why it’s not, but how it could be better. I always make sure to give my students reasons, resources and models of excellence. This changes the tenor of the conversation, and communicates that I am invested in their success.