There’s this semi-popular and a little “gasgas” Pinoy joke about Juan and Maria dating at a posh restaurant. Since it was their first time to go out, it was natural for them to put their best foot forward like most people do.
However at the middle of the date, Juan noticed that there was a booger on the upper lip of Maria. It was pretty disturbing because he doesn’t want to put Maria in an embarrassing situation. On the other hand, he needs to inform her ASAP because there’s also possibility that Maria might misinterpret him for not telling the truth.
So after a few minutes, he finally decided to inform her.
“Uh, Maria. Can I ask you something?“
“What is it?” Maria replied.
“Nothing. I just wanna know what did you eat this lunch time. Because I think there’s a monggo bean sticking at your upper lip right now.“
Surprised, Maria licked her upper lip and said, “Really? No, that’s not a monggo bean. It’s just fried rice.”
On a serious note, I noticed that most people tend to insult others on situations like the above mentioned. In the office, it’s a usual dilemma for some managers to inform his subordinate to rephrase some sentences on his memo or revise their reports. In your relationships, you have to be careful in choosing the right words to avoid hurting your partner’s feelings.
And the list goes on.
With that being said, here’s a constructive criticism technique that I’ve been using since I learned from attending a Leadership Seminar conducted by Green Jakobsen (an international business process, HR and safety development company within the maritime and offshore industry) for the Maritime Department Personnel of the University of Cebu – Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue Campus:
THE HAMBURGER METHOD
1. Top Bun
On the first layer of the interaction, you should open the critique with at least 3 SINCERE COMPLIMENTS. You should compliment that person on something that he/she does well. The good thing with this stuff is it doesn’t trigger any defense mechanism on the receiver’s part. It prepares them for the second layer.
“I love your writing style. The way you play with words in your memo tends to make the recipient feel motivated. It’s so simple that everyone can understand it. Good job!“
The patty is the meat of the matter. This is where you perform your sometimes-rehearsed-constructive-criticism-speech. This is where you choose the right words in sincerely helping the other person improve his/her behavior. Do not attack the person.
Discuss and evaluate the person out of kindness and not of hate.
By the way, don’t use the word “BUT” because it ruins the positive effect of the top bun. Back from the previous example, how would you feel if your boss continues the conversation like this?
“BUT you have to improve on your spelling and grammar. You also have to adjust the margins and sign using a black pen.”
I assume that you’d feel bad upon hearing this. Why is that? Because you’re focusing on the negative! The bottom bun won’t be effective anymore since you already made the other person feel awful.
Personally, I change “BUT” to “I’d appreciate it more…“
For example, “By the way, I’d appreciate it more if you can rephrase this sentence and double check on the spelling to avoid typos. And please adjust the margins and use a black pen next time.”
Am I making sense here?
3. Bottom Bun
This is where you end the constructive criticism with a bang. Always end it with a compliment that would encourage or motivate the person to do better next time.
Example: “Generally, I love what you did and thank you for doing this ahead of time. Keep up the good work!“
So that’s the Burger Method folks. I hope this post could help you improve your relationship with your friends, spouse, or colleagues. There are also other “Communication Techniques” that I know. However, I won’t discuss it here since I only teach them on my trainings/seminars with Axl Trainings.
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