Criticism Letter

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things"

- Winston Churchill

Criticism is tough to take. To criticize is not easy either. There is a generally accepted notion that criticism means fault finding. We have to understand that it is not the case. A criticism can be constructive and encouraging too if written properly.

Criticism someone or something is a difficult task. It is a process which requires certain skill. Everyone can criticize but true critiques are those who have some knowledge about the subject and who can bring some change due to the criticism. Some amount of criticism is definitely necessary in order to grow and develop but unfortunately very few of us take the process positively. The purpose of criticism is not to hurt anyone or find faults, it is to improvise and take a step towards the progress.

You should not do any direct comment on the person who is being criticized. Creating a positive environment is very necessary. Selection of words should be apt. Criticism should not degrade the person rather it should act as a motivating factor in the journey of development.

Here are some tips on writing criticism letters which are not devastating.

  • Do not make the criticism insulting. Do not make the generalizations and do not exaggerate the things. Give examples for making your point clear. Do not let the person feel that he is being cornered. Do not make personal comments on character of a person who is being criticized.

  • Start your letter with something positive. This will lower the feeling of self defensive and frustration. This will also give the person a feeling that his behavior is being observed and that the criticism is not the only thing that is talked about.

  • It is better if you reduce vagueness of the letter. Use 'I' and that how the behavior is inappropriate according to you. Back up with examples if any. Do not include the opinions of others. Also, do not augment by telling how many people agree with you.

  • Encourage the person and show your eagerness in helping in finding the solution of the problem. You should neither sound too harsh not too lenient. Do not let the person know as if you are making fun of him. Do not use long and confusing sentences. Do not use tough vocabulary.

  • Opt for such a language which is straight, free of confusions, easy to understand and unbiased. Do not mention any ones name.

  • Use a serious tone. Avoid use of colorful paper, stylish font, graphics and borders. It will distract the attention from the main content.

  • If possible do not underline any specific word. This might be taken as an insult and can have a real negative impact on the person.

  • With every point that you criticize, mention that you are not unaware of the situation. State clearly how the person is going wrong in certain areas and be clear about what do you want from him.

  • Tell him clearly what and how he is supposed to change certain behaviors. Provide options from your side to make it easy for the person.

  • Do not make your letter very lengthy. Lengthy letters lack grip and do not seem to carry the crispness which is needed in any letter to be it effective.

Criticisms are tricky. They can be devastating for some and some might get benefited by criticisms. A criticizer should always take care of the disposition, age, cadre and personality of the person who is being criticized. The responsibility lies on the shoulder of the person who criticizes and not on the person who is getting criticized.

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