How Not to Give Criticism

photo-1442458370899-ae20e367c5d8

I’ll get to the point, just wait a minute.

Okay…no matter how old I get…I still keep learning something. Whether I want to or not.

I needed to hand out criticism to a committee member. What I would like to use is the kick-butt approach:It goes like this: ” For the love of St. Pete, we’re talking about the book fundraiser, Lulu. After the meeting is over, we can talk about  your achy knee and  strange-mole problem and all the books you’ve used to diagnosis yourself..”

I’ve used this kick-butt technique a couple of times. I felt kind of skunky afterward..  But no one was insulted enough to volunteer to take over chairing the meeting, which would’ve been a nice side benefit to offset the skunky feeling..

So I switched to the ol’ interrupt-and-refocus technique.

“LuLu what in blithereens does your topic have to do with what we’re talking about— which at the moment, is the BOOK FUNDRAISER?”

Again I feel skunky for such a shut-up-and-get-with-the-topic approach. But that quickly goes away because LuLu can relate anything to the latest topic. She simply says (quite officiously) “Well, just wait…I’m getting to that.”

Five minutes and four doctor visits later, she finally reports that she has books that didn’t help at all and she’s going to put them in the book-fundraiser…if we ever get one planned.

So finally I used the OREO technique. (A suggestion for improvement is sandwiched between a couple of compliments)

“Lulu, wow that sounds like you’ve really done a lot of thorough research into in-grown toenail problems. How about you  hold those thoughts until we finish talking about the fundraiser,then we can hear your amazing information after the meeting.”

Mother Mary, Joseph, and all the baby donkeys!!!! It worked. WhooHoo. (and no skunky feeling)

There’s only one catch. I have to hang around after the meeting and listen to the FULL info dump on toenails.

I learned more than I ever wanted to know. But I figure someday it’ll be me, blathering on about the ridges in my fingernails or accidental  farts or how I don’t sleep well during a full moon.

Someday I may be lonely and the only way I know how to relieve my desperate ache is to join committees so I can be with people and hijack  conversations so I can talk about myself.

I hope they know the OREO Technique.

By Ismael Nieto

By Ismael Nieto

Have you ever dealt with a conversation hijacker?

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5 thoughts on “How Not to Give Criticism

  1. I fall into the blabbery category myself at times, and have little patiience for others. Thanks for suggesting the Oreo technique. It would definately be an improvement over my current approach, which is to pretty much ignore the poor gal.

  2. My mum’s mum was a master at hijacking a conversation. I’d call her to ask her something and she’ rattle on for a while – never did get to the topic it hand – and then say, “Well, thanks for calling” – and hang up.
    I’m famous for not being able to come to the point – need to have some “background music – so you understand the point of the story. The picture at the beginning of your post might was well be me! (But I don’t have ingrown toenails.)

  3. My first time on and wow, love this! I found it by mistake looking for a Circle Program! One of my fellow Committee members always say that we must keep the meeting to an hour because she has something to do. Then as a running joke she leans into me and says “It may just be getting the biscuits in the oven, but I do have something to do!”

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