Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The art of constructive criticism

Last weekend I went up to the Peterborough Diocese to lead a study day on 'Transforming the World' using my LUBH material, which I thought went well, and the feedback has been solidly positive. Along with the positive feedback, however, came two bits of 'criticism', ie that I ask 'is that clear?' or 'does that make sense?' a bit too often, and I have a tendency to smile too much (something of a nervous tic) which might suggest that I don't take the material as seriously as might be expected. This I felt was an excellent example of constructive criticism - things that I can do something about to continually improve my presentation skills so that the message gets across ever more effectively.

I do think that our culture as a whole, and clergy in particular, need training in how to give constructive criticism; it's an incredibly useful art and would probably lead to many fewer of the conflicts now afflicting us if we were able to practise it more effectively. I suppose it's a way of 'speaking the truth in love', which is something I need to work on myself (that is, I think I've got the 'speaking the truth' bit down OK, it's the latter that needs attention....)

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