Have you ever held back from providing insight because you were afraid of how the news might be received? It’s wise to think twice about delivery. After all, communication is more about the perceived message than it is about the actual words of the speaker. Reframing can shift an awkward message into a powerful opportunity for growth.
Feedback versus criticism
This is an important concept for managers to grasp: Feedback builds awareness and skills whereas criticism is judgmental and points out faults. Before you deliver your message try future pacing it as a method of reframing. Read the sentences below and ask yourself which would be more effective.
Criticism model (looks back, points out faults):
Great sale but too bad you forgot to ask the customer about an extended warranty on the new product. We’re supposed to end all our sales conversations with an offer.
Feedback model (forward looking, builds skills):
Great sale. What parts do you want to repeat with your next customer and what would you want to do differently?
Receiving criticism with grace
What if you’re on the receiving end? Take a deep breath. Don’t become angry or defensive — you’ll miss the salient points of the message and may alienate the speaker. Listen for something you can learn from and thank the critic.