Using the Sandwich Method When Giving Constructive Criticism:
When you read this title you were probably thinking, “What is the sandwich method? I’ve never heard of that. How does that fit in with constructive criticism?” Well, let me explain that. The “Sandwich Method” is something I learned in college and it applies to a lot of different aspects of life and can be especially useful in constructive criticism.
The “Sandwich Method” is simple; positive, negative, positive, layered just like a sandwich. So now you may be thinking, “What does this have to do with me? How can this help?” It can help in a lot of different ways.
Say you’re having a group of people critique a poster you made and all they say about your work is negative comment after negative comment. That definitely doesn’t make you feel better, nor does it help you change your work and better it. When people talk negative about us or our work, it brings our mood down and for artists that’s not good because we need some kind of good to go along with the bad in order to make things better.
So this is where the “Sandwich Method” comes into play. Instead of all negative comments, the sandwich method is to say a positive comment in the beginning and a positive comment in the end and “sandwich” the negative comment in the middle.
The benefits of using the Sandwich Method is being able to have a good balance of positive and negative comments. So an example would be “I really like the colors you used in this poster” then, “ I don’t think that font works well with what you are advertising, maybe try something different” and finally, “Overall I like the whole layout of the poster.” The positive comments need to be sincere though. Saying positive things that aren’t true to make someone feel better isn’t the way to go as far as constructive criticism goes. Supporting your comments with examples is a good thing when it comes to constructive criticism.
By saying more positives than negatives it builds up the hope in us letting us think, “Ok, I can definitely make this better.” I know I definitely react better when I’m around positivity rather than negativity and I am sure it’s the same way with everyone. People want to hear positive things. If their work really is bad, break it to them gently but focus on what is good and then say what needs to be improved on. Tell them what you like, what you don’t like, and then end on what you like again. (Even if you have to repeat that positive comment twice.)
Always make sure to be specific with your feedback while giving constructive criticism. The whole point of giving advice to someone is to help improve their work. When beginning a critique you want to encourage people to engage in a relaxed environment. When having a critique and only one person speaks the whole time, even if the sandwich method is still used, it still may seem disappointing that everyone isn’t involved. Another thing to remember when giving constructive criticism is to give the advice like you would want to hear it. Yes, sometimes telling it like it is works but people always respond better to positivity than negativity.
Here’s a recap of some of the tips above:
–Use the sandwich method (positive, negative, positive) when giving constructive criticism
–Be specific when making comment
–People react better to positivity so try to steer your comments in a positive way
–The whole point of giving critique is encouraging someone to improve their work
So next time you critique someone’s work just remember the sandwich method: Positive, Negative, Positive.
Written By: Brittany Ewart