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Criticism: How to Give and Take It

Updated on November 3, 2011


Criticism can be a hard thing to give and take without offending or being offended, but criticism can be a great help if done properly. It can help you find the areas that you need to improve upon. It helps you set ideas and boundaries for your next work- whether that be a poem, story, painting, sculpture, anything.

When taking part in giving and receiving criticism, you want to:

  • Take charge: "Hey I have 5 minutes; do you want me to look at your work?" or "Can I have 5 minutes of your time to look at something for me?"
  • Pick your partners: Some people may take your style of criticism better than others. Or, some people may give better criticism.
  • Listen: Listen to what each other is saying.

How to Give Criticism

When you're asked to give someone constructive criticism, remember that it's supposed to be constructive and helpful. If you see something wrong or something that could be done a different way to make the piece better, don't say that the person is wrong. An artist is never wrong in how he feels his painting should flow.

Tips to give criticism:

  • Know the goals: Make sure that you know what problem you're trying to solve. If you don't know what the creator is trying to get at and achieve, then you really don't know what to offer in return.
  • Personal Preferences out the window: Put your personal tastes aside. What you like is not always good. Because the criticism is not about you, you'll need to look at the creation with an unbiased tone.
  • Talk equally about what it is as isn't: You want to give equal pros and cons. If the creator only gets to hear what needs to be fixed, his end choices on correcting the cons may not be the best. He needs to understand the strong and weak qualities.
  • Oreo: Think of criticism as an oreo- give one good thing, one bad thing, one good thing. That way you end can end on a good note, but the person is able to see what could be better or changed. Obviously, if there are multiple different things that you feel need to happen, don't pile it in all in the middle- good, bad, bad, good, bad, bad, good, good.

How to Take Criticism

The worse part of criticism is that someone has to hear it. Take it as a way to develop ideas. It's actually essential to master your skills.

Tips for receiving criticism:

  • Shut up and listen: As a form of denial, you may try to defend your work to the points that are trying to be made to help you. Just listen to what the person has to say.
  • Ask questions: So to not get confused or to get to take the criticism wrong, clarify what's being said by asking questions. Ask the person to show you what they mean.
  • Refer to the goals: When the conversation seems to go astray, refer back to the goals. This can work if you feel that you're not getting the criticism in the direction that you were hoping. I.E. the person looked at your work in a different way.
  • Question what changes would make it better: In regards to the criticism that you received, as the person what changes he feels would make the work better. "How can I improve that?"


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    • PeanutButterWine profile image

      PeanutButterWine 6 years ago from North Vancouver, B.C. Canada

      Loved this, voted up! :)

    • JerseyGirl profile image

      JerseyGirl 10 years ago from Jersey Shore

      I agree with your advise. Unfortunately, I tend to feel that the world is too rushed, and people (weather family or business), do not take the time to give, nor receive criticism.

      With that, I dont know that your hub will be truly appreciated.

      I do appreciate it; although, again..... sometimes its easier for others to walk away, say "I can't", or just drop a project and never finish.

      Hopefully, you have brought some light to others. Thanks for publishing a great hub.

    • Peter M. Lopez profile image

      Peter M. Lopez 10 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

      Great advice. Maybe this should be implemented in the forum or posted as hub rules. LOL.