I’ve conducted critiques with thousands of budding graphic, web and instructional designers. As a professor and a team leader I taught others how to conduct critique, so here we go.
Everyone involved needs to understand the rules of engagement in critique: forward movement and growth.
Approach critique with a positive growth mindset to maintain focus on identifying the positive elements and opportunities. When approached correctly, critique can become a tool that will enable you and your colleagues to flourish, as a team.
When I made the recent ask for critique from my inner circle I faced two common responses from my support network: “It looks great!” or, “There’s just this one thing...but everything else is fantastic!". This network was largely worried about hurting my feelings, which kept them (I believe) from being totally honest.
However, there was one outlier.
This feedback was from my dearest, oldest friend (incidentally, also a Learning Experience Designer).
She gave me raw, no holds barred feedback, the kind that you need to sit with for a day before you ask if the person is upset with you.
I did eventually ask if anything was bothering her. She said, “actually, I’m not sure how to offer feedback, I always seem to offend people. Can you critique my approach to critique?” And so, we have the inception of this blog post.
This is what I shared with my dear, amazing (…any by the way, she was spot on - but damn that hurt) friend.
Grab a cup of coffee and listen up to my 2 minute podcast below: