How Not to Give Criticism

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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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Being Important- Gone with the Wind

I saw a headline the other day under Celebrity Deaths

Ann Rutherford: ‘Gone with the Wind’ actress dies at 94

The story in the LA Times indicated “Ann Rutherford, one of the last surviving cast

Cropped screenshot of Ann Rutherford from the ...

Cropped screenshot of Ann Rutherford from the trailer for the film Love Finds Andy Hardy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

member of “Gone with the Wind,” died Monday night at her Beverly Hills home at the age of 94.

And while she’d played Polly Benedict, girlfriend to a teenage Mickey Rooney, in the Andy Hardy movies, it was her role as Scarlett O’Hara’s younger sister, Carreen, in Gone With the Wind that she was best known.

It almost didn’t happen.

MGM head Louis B. Mayer called it “a nothing part”, intending to cut it, but Rutherford burst into tears, asking him to reconsider. Mayer okayed the part.

Of course, fame is fleeting, but I think the enduring gem tucked into this story is that no one wants to be a “nothing part.” We all carry an invisible sign: I want to feel worthwhile and important.

Criticism or withholding praise can blow those moments of connection away with the wind. Getting any church group, office group, neighborhood group, or even family to all agree can be a real headbanger. Believe me, the Lutheran Ladies don’t always see things the same way. But criticism junks up the road with wounded hearts, taking a long time to heal.

We have more of a chance of a positive discussion and being anchored against the winds when we remember each of us is carrying an invisible sign. I want to feel important.

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:2