Archive for March 5, 2008

How To Better Diffuse Verbal Criticisms?

March 5, 2008

At yesterday’s NUS Toastmasters Club Annual General Meeting and Election, I’ve had the pleasure of evaluating another Advanced project. This time round, the presentation and role play demonstrated were about “Diffusing Verbal Criticisms”. It was definitely something on familiar grounds because I often conduct training courses on similar topics.

To further extend on how to diffuse verbal criticisms, I added on some real-life solutions:

1. Surface Concerns versus Deep Issues. You’ve got to not just touch on what appears to be superficial but discover the deep seated concerns within a person. An outburst of harsh words or emotional breakdown is often an accumulation of much deeper issues and matters over a period of time. You have to address that with the person to attain closure.

2. Short term postponement versus Long term closure. We often find that it’s so much easier to waive the criticisms off by giving an “instant excuse”. While that may work for that moment, it’s usually a temporal postponement of the “problem”. When similar events occur again, it’s back to Round One of the fight. Strive to create a closure by seeking mutual agreement and action that both can take.

3. Mannerisms matter most. People react in return to how you respond to them. A hush-hush behavior will tend to make it seem condescending to them. Practice genuine concern over the others.