Confident Communication
3min2020 AUG 29
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We all know that criticism ought to be “constructive”. But in practice we often just end up paying lip service to the idea of constructive criticism—beginning with something like: “I really love what you’re doing on this project, but …” and then launching into everything that’s wrong with it. Happily, the Russian-born mathematician and biologist Anatol Rapoport has come to our rescue here with a few concrete rules for intelligent dissent. They will ensure that you, the target of your criticism, and anyone else who hears your critique will benefit, and nobody’s feathers will get too badly ruffled.Explain the position you reject as clearly, vividly, and justly as possible for your target to say, “Thank you, I wish I could have formulated my ideas that way.”Mention anything you have learned from your target.Make a list of points on which you agree, especially if you’re discussing issues for which there are no tacit or general agreements.Only then do you make some criticism ...