From All WomensTalk: 8 Tips for Giving and Receiving Criticism:
3. Don’t Say Always
Always is an incredibly long time! Don’t use always or never in your criticism. “You never…” is going to make the person feel under attack, and immediately go defensive. If you need to use times, use frequently, or sometimes. This is probably much more accurate anyway, and will stop you using ‘negative’ words!
6. Remember the Motto
Catherine the Great once said something we should all keep in mind….praise loudly, blame softly. Make sure that if you offer criticism, you also offer praise. Not at the same time, as this can make it appear fake, but at some point. For example, my boyfriend is excellent at cooking, but frustratingly rubbish at making complete shopping lists. I prefer to remind him how much of an excellent cook he is rather then rant at him, though, and when I do need to criticize, it doesn’t affect our relationship or his mood. He knows I think he is amazing, anyway!
7. Focus on “I”
Think about how you write in your diary. You are more likely to use “I”…I think, I know, I presume…then to use you. Use this in your criticism. Make it personal to you, not an attack on the other person. I believe that…is much kinder then saying you are doing this wrong, and is the correct way to phrase it. Think me, not them.
All eight tips were good. These three were great. Taking and giving feedback is never simple. If you can manage not to make it feel like a personal attack you will actually be able to get an information exchange and (possibly) really help someone.