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Winning human heart! Indirect Criticism

Chapter 23: Indirect Criticism

One day Charles Schwab was visiting one of his factories during his lunch break and came across several workers smoking under the “No Smoking” sign. He walked over to give each of them a cigar: “Boys, if you’re smoking outside, I totally approve of smoking.

These workers knew they were caught breaking the rules, but they still admired how he gently reminded them and still kept face for them. Who wouldn’t appreciate a person like that?

John Wanamaker also uses this method. He used to take a tour of his big store in Philadelphia every day. He once saw a customer waiting at a checkout counter while the sales staff were laughing and talking to each other in a far corner. Wanamaker quietly went behind the counter and served the customer. After that, he handed the customer’s item to the shopkeepers to wrap it up without a word of reprimand, and then went on to check it out.

Officials are often criticized for being difficult to access. The problem is that their subordinates do not want their boss to be disturbed by too many guests. Carl Langford, the mayor of Orlando, Florida, often scolds employees for not allowing strangers to see him.

He advocated an “open door policy” but civilians who wanted to enter were blocked by his secretary and manager. Finally, the mayor found a solution. He removed the big door from his office! His staff immediately received the message. The mayor had a truly “open door” management policy from that day on.

Many people often begin with a sincere compliment, followed by the word “but” and end with a critical comment. For example, while looking for ways to change your child’s academic neglect, you might say, “We’re really proud of you, Johnnie, because you ranked higher this term. But if you work harder with algebra, the results will be even better.

In this case, Johnnie may feel encouraged until he hears the word “but”. At that point he might doubt the sincerity of the initial compliment. To him, the compliment seemed just a clever preparation to make a critical comment. So you have lost his trust and will not achieve your goal.

You can easily fix this by changing the word “but” to the word “and”. The reminder would look like this: “I’m really proud of you, Johnnie, because you ranked higher this semester. And if you keep working hard like that, your algebra score can also improve along with other subjects next semester.”

Johnnie will accept that compliment because it doesn’t entail a failure reminder. The indirect attention of others to their own shortcomings will be greatly appreciated by sensitive people, while they may feel very uncomfortable in the face of any direct criticism.

Marge Jacob of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, recounted to my class how she persuaded construction workers to clean up her yard every day as they expanded her house as follows:

The first few days, when Mrs. Jacob came home from work, she found the yard full of pieces of wood scattered everywhere. Because she didn’t want to upset the good builders, she and her children gathered everything neatly into a corner after the workers had left.

The next morning, she called the foreman privately and said, “I’m very happy that you keep the beautiful, clean flowerbed out front and don’t make the neighbors uncomfortable.” From then on, although the house is still under repair, the grandmother and children do not need to clean up, but their yard is always tidy.

On March 8, 1887, the orator Henry Ward Beecher died. The following Sunday, Lyman Abbott was invited to give the eulogy. He wrote again and again, refining every word. Then he read it to his wife. The meaning of the eulogy is actually as poor as most ordinary eulogy. If she had acted in the usual way, the wife would have said: “Mr. Lyman, this is terrible what you write.

Where not? This eulogy will put people to sleep. It’s like an encyclopedia. He should have known better after all these years of teaching. Why don’t you speak naturally like a normal person? I’m sure you’ll lose your reputation if you read this.”

However, she did not say such vulgar words, but only commented that this article would be a great article for the “North American Journal”. In other words, she complimented it and at the same time subtly suggested that it was inappropriate for a eulogy. Lyman immediately understood the point, tore up the article he had carefully prepared, and uttered his own tribute without resorting to a single manuscript. The eulogy that day made many people cry and is considered his best eulogy.

Humans are naturally proud. Saying outright that someone is wrong is the biggest mistake.

Rule 23: Comment on the mistakes of others indirectly.

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