Reflecting on Karen Cheng’s “How to Survive Critique: A Guide to Giving and Receiving Feedback”

When it comes to improving your work, whether it be writing, design, or even just communication, being able to accept critique from others is a valuable skill. Being able to give critique is equally as important. In “How to Survive Critique: A Guide to Giving and Receiving Feedback”, Karen Cheng offers suggestions for both.

When providing feedback to others, you want to do so in an open environment free of fear. She mentions that using the “hamburger method” of sandwiching the bad between the good is a good way of doing so. I don’t necessarily agree with this. If something bad is bad, there’s no sense in sugar coating it. I do, however, agree with providing actionable suggestions making sure to explain why you’re making the suggestions. Often times, this will provide a different perspective or insight that might have otherwise been overlooked.

Receiving feedback is more challenging. First and foremost, Cheng suggests to have your work and something to say about it ready. Even if you’re only just starting, being able to explain your rationale can generate valuable feedback. The hard part about receiving feedback is accepting other’s suggestions without getting defensive. Being able to listen to particularly critical feedback without feeling crushed is a skill. Rather than becoming angry, focus on taking notes to capture what’s being suggested – this way, you can review and decide what changes to make later. The more notes you take, and the more critiques you receive, the better your end design will be, and the better you’ll get at receiving feedback for the next time too!

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