The Public Speaker's mantra about giving criticism and praise.
If you want to truly motivate someone, praise them in public. I’ll never forget the day Chris Brogan (who’s a well-known social media figure) praised me on Twitter. I felt inflated by his comment. I had a big smile on my face and as a bonus, I had 35 new followers within 5 minutes of his tweet. It was like a gift--a gift of thoughtfulness--that didn’t cost him much but a few seconds of time.
However, I also remember the very first (and luckily only) public tweet I received that was negative. It was clearly intended to be destructive. I wasn’t even sure exactly what I had done to earn such a negative, hurtful reaction because the tweet wasn’t specific. Eventually I received one or two private emails from other listeners that very clearly and gently described a pronunciation error I’d made. I was only able to improve after I understood exactly what I needed to fix. As I mentioned in my subsequent episode about proper pronunciation, it stung a little, but ultimately I’m grateful that a few listeners cared enough to share with me their stories of mispronunciation and helped me to not make that mistake again.
So, the rule is: praise in public and provide corrective feedback in private (and in person, if at all possible). Sending an email should be a last resort --only if the other ways are impossible. Certainly, tweeting constructive feedback is out of the question—that is IF your goal is to motivate a change in behavior.
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