How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

A guest post by Jered Slusher of Mass Influence Leadership.

Criticizing my fellow bloggers!?

I bet you’re as stunned as the baby in the photo, especially since Jean is quite possibly the nicest blogger on the planet, known for such posts as How to Grow Your Blog With Kindness.

Hopefully this article gets “past the censors” so I can show you how to increase bonding and trust with other bloggers, give immense value to them, and be respected for your perspective.

And I want to show you how to criticize the right way. Believe me, there is a right way.

What exactly do I mean by “Criticism?”

Okay. So everybody knows that criticism has become a dirty word. The very mentioning of criticism sends a chill down peoples’ spines.

I’m sure we can all remember back to a time in our life when someone criticized us unfairly, made us feel about two feet tall, and incited anger within us.

You know what I’m talking about: “Brutal Honesty” dished out by people who care nothing about the other person’s feelings.

These are the people who have to get it off their chest and tell you what you “need to hear” because they know what’s best for you.

Even with the best of intentions, this type of criticism erodes self-worth and causes resentment within other people.

The criticism that I support creates lasting results and helps all involved.

It’s called constructive criticism, and believe it or not, there is a 10-step formula that we can use to better our blogging relationships and help our fellow bloggers improve their blogging efforts.

Step 1: Create and communicate a strong purpose and vision for our blogs and blogging efforts.

Before we start giving our opinion on other peoples’ work, we should lay down a foundation for our blog.

We should include on our About pages a clear statement of our blog’s purpose: why does our blog exist?

What does this have to do with criticism?

It’s hard to provide perspective when a blog doesn’t have a purpose. How are we going to help someone else get to where that person wants to go if that person has no idea where we’re going or what we stand for?

That’s why it’s important to choose a blog topic that we’re passionate about and that other interested readers can rally behind. That’s why it’s important that we know why we blog to begin with.

It’s much easier to help others and be helped when we have a strong purpose and vision for our blogging.

Step 2: Contact other bloggers who are blogging with a purpose to say hello, and talk with them about their blogging efforts.

Every blogging contact we make must first start with the initial contact. We should make connections with our fellow bloggers by leaving useful and insightful comments on their blogs and e-mailing them our sincere appreciation and support.

Seek out cool people that will be able to offer honest feedback, and that are willing to help. It’s not hard to separate the generous givers from the takers.

Once we put ourselves out there and make the initial contacts, we’ll start to develop a list of people who know us and are interested in us. These are the people who will be giving us their honest perspectives on how to improve our blogging efforts some day.

Step 3: Develop friendships with our fellow bloggers.

Tess Marshall of The Bold Life blog wrote an excellent article called 14 Tips to Turn Bloggers Into Friends.

It goes without saying that being genuinely interested in other people and providing them with tremendous value will help you develop your friendships.

In terms of criticism, it’s much easier to accept criticism from someone you know, like and trust. When we provide value to others without expecting anything in return, we create lasting bonds with people. They know our true intentions.

So when we ask for or give criticism, we can trust that our friends have honest and pure intentions in helping us reach our goals.

Step 4: State our intentions and get permission from our fellow blogger to give criticism.

Alright, everything leading up to this point has been about developing our relationship so that the other person is interested in us and that they know and like us. Essentially, we’ve created a bond of trust.

Now, it’s time to offer our perspective on their blog.

We can just come right out and say it: “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that if you ever need my perspective on anything, I’m here to help.”

As well, we should state our intentions clearly: “I am 100% behind the purpose of your blog, and I want to help you and your blog succeed.”

And then, we should ask for permission before we give our perspective: “If you’re okay with it, I’d like to provide some feedback about what I think is going well, and a few things that I think could really help take your blogging to the next level.”

By asking for permission, we’re getting the other person to own the fact that they’re okay with receiving our feedback.

This way, we have a higher probability of influencing the person. After all, they made the conscious decision to accept your criticism.

Step 5: Instead of making direct statements, ask questions to understand our fellow blogger.

One of my favorite quotes from Stephen Covey is, “seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

The best way to understand someone else is to ask them questions and listen. Truly listen. Instead of casting judgment, asking them questions to lead them on, giving them solutions to their problems, or analyzing their motives, try to just sit back and listen to them.

We will get a much clearer understanding of the other person’s perspective if we’re willing to understand the other person first.

Oftentimes when we ask another blogger questions about their blog, it takes them through a process of self re-appraisal and they have an “a-ha” moment where they realize how they could improve their blogging. The new-found self-awareness spurs our fellow blogger on to make improvements that we didn’t even suggest.

Some questions that we might ask: “What do you think about your website design? What do you think about your blog content? How do you think your traffic strategy is going? What gets a response out of your readers?” and so on, and so forth.

Step 6: Give our perspective, and provide honest, personal feedback.

When asked to specifically do so, and when we understand our fellow blogger, we should give our honest, personal feedback.

The feedback should be personal in that our information should be presented through our own perspective.

Here’s what I mean: Instead of saying, “The header of your blog is too big,” you might say, “It seems to me that the header might be a little large. It feels kinda bulky to me. I wonder if your readers have ever thought about the size of your header…”

The difference in approach is monumental. In the first instance, we’re stating the criticism as if it were complete fact. In the second instance, we’re stating our personal perspective on the matter, and acknowledging that we could be wrong, that it may just be our personal preference.

By keeping our criticism honest, and personal, we have a better chance of avoiding resentment or making the blogger feel worthless.

Step 7: Provide proof and examples from our experience, and from other blogging references to back up our point.

Whenever possible, we should reference why we hold our perspective. Where does our worldview come from?

For example, if we state that we feel someone could benefit from catchier titles, we should reference resources to back up the analysis. We could give examples of articles that have strong headlines that catch the reader’s attention.

The more proof we can provide, the more easily the other blogger can understand why we feel the way we do.

Step 8: Listen, and understand how they feel about what we’ve shared.

Get feedback from the blogger to see what they think.

Listen to them, and try to understand why they feel the way they feel.

Above all, we should respect their right to decline any suggestions we give or disagree with any points we’ve made. Just because we gave our perspective doesn’t mean that they have to change their way of doing things for us.

Step 9: Help the other person make the change, provided that they want to.

It’s helpful to give the blogger resources such as articles or books to help them get the result they want, provided that’s what the blogger wants.

It’s one thing to offer our criticism to the blogger, it’s another thing to go above and beyond and help the blogger make a substantial and lasting change.

Step 10: Ask our fellow bloggers for their perspective on our blogging.

Ultimately, a fresh perspective on our blogs can go a long way to our success. When someone is genuinely interested in providing insight into what we are doing well, and what we can improve upon, we can learn from that person.

We shouldn’t be afraid to ask other bloggers for their perspective on our blogging.

Who knows the valuable insight that someone may provide for an increase in traffic, boost in content quality, improvement in the functionality of our web design, or a cool way we can make more money from our blogs?

Your turn: How would you feel about receiving constructive criticism on your blog?

Bio: Jered Slusher is the founder of Mass Influence Leadership, a community of leaders driven to gain control over their future, lead other people, and achieve massive amounts of success. Get your free “Stocking Your Leadership Super-Powers” e-book at http://www.massinfluence.org/free-book

62 Responses to How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  1. Alien Ghost August 20, 2010 at 7:07 am #

    Hi Jered,

    So you mean we shouldn’t criticize YouTube comments style? (Just kidding)

    On a second thought, posting a stupid video in YouTube and enduring the comments would make us tough and unbreakable (if we survive!)

    But seriously, the points you mention should be followed any time we think we have something to contribute to a fellow blogger

    Great advice, thank you!

    Raul
    Alien Ghost recently posted..Master of Your Own Universe

    • Jean Sarauer August 20, 2010 at 11:23 am #

      Raul, you’re making me scared to post a video on YouTube :)

    • Jered August 20, 2010 at 11:44 am #

      Hey Raul,

      I think you are right on bringing up YouTube comments.

      The anonymity of YouTube commenting makes it ideal for people to post insensitive, unhelpful, even downright reprehensible comments.

      I think that overly critical and profane YouTube comments show that the person is more interested in making you look bad than they are helping you become the best you can be.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

  2. rob white August 20, 2010 at 8:19 am #

    Hi Jered,

    I always want to know when I am doing something wrong. It is an opportunity to grow. Insisting we are right to protect our bruised ego never works. Conversely, I am comfortable giving constructive criticism because I am happy to receive it.

    We are not doing anyone a favor when we are just being nice to them… I am only interested in growth.
    rob white recently posted..Creating Money Matters – Not Reacting to Them

    • Jean Sarauer August 20, 2010 at 11:23 am #

      Now that’s a healthy approach, Rob! Criticism given with the right spirit is a beautiful thing.

    • Jered August 20, 2010 at 11:53 am #

      Hey Rob,

      I agree that just being nice is not always the ideal way to go, especially in terms of helping people grow.

      I think high consideration for the other persons wants and feelings, and courage to help the other person grow will help develop that bond of trust and provide a strong foundation to build constructive criticism on.

      Thanks for your insight, Rob.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

  3. Karen August 20, 2010 at 10:13 am #

    Hi Jered,

    Sometimes it’s easy to think of it as offering advice, rather than criticism. I’ve often emailed or contacted bloggers with helpful ‘advice’ or ‘suggestions’ for things that I think they should look into. I guess since most of the time, it’s unsolicited so it may be deemed criticsim, but if you have the right intentions, I think most people realize that and respond favourably.

    But, if you are going to dish it out, I think you should also be prepared for it come back your way, too :-)
    Karen recently posted..Just For Today Challenge – 31 Days To A Better You eBook Launch

    • Jean Sarauer August 20, 2010 at 11:28 am #

      Ack, my internet connection went down and my response was vaporized. Hate when that happens! I just wanted to thank you for the input you gave me on comment systems and other things too!

    • Jered August 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

      Hey Karen,

      I’m glad that you are willing to help other bloggers build better blogs.

      I think you are right on about intentions. If we have the right intentions, we are more likely to influence others.

      In my own experience, I’m careful to withhold unsolicited criticism, especially on the first contact. I feel it sends the wrong message to the other person that I sit around evaluating their performance. I don’t want anyone thinking I’m here to evaluate their performance, because I’m not.

      If I do offer any feedback on the first encounter, generally it’s in the form of honest and sincere appreciation for what I feel the other person is doing well in their blogging efforts.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

  4. Clearly Composed August 20, 2010 at 10:30 am #

    Great advice with the most important part being: ASK for permission. A hint or tip is most always welcomed but to criticize someone’s blog when they have not invited input is rude in my book. Thumper’s mom was a smart with her advice about having nothing nice to say and hushing up. On the flip side there is no resource quiet as valuable as fellow bloggers who truly want to help other bloggers. :)
    Clearly Composed recently posted.. Balance In Action

    • Jean Sarauer August 20, 2010 at 11:30 am #

      I’ve had some good experiences with people emailing and saying things like, ‘you might not know this but if you do XYZ then your feeds will look better, your readers will stay on your site longer, etc.’ That way, it doesn’t feel like criticism at all but rather an insider tip.

    • Jered August 20, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

      Hey Emma,

      I agree that criticizing without permission can be taken as an extremely rude gesture, and immediately put up a wall of dissonance between the blogger and the criticizer.

      In the long run, that can be very unhealthy for starting and maintaining a strong relationship built on trust.

      I also think that Jean is right on when she talks about getting hints or tips, even if unsolicited, and benefiting from them.

      In my experience, when someone I know on a limited basis e-mails me with those types of hints and tips, my first thought is “who is this person, why are they offering this advice, where did they get their information, and why are they evaluating my work?”

      Instead of my focus being on what the person is saying, my focus is on who is saying it.

      If that person had created a foundation of trust and familiarity, I may be able to be more motivated to take the criticism and apply it to better myself rather than be motivated to find out who is offering me said advice.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

  5. Marion Anderson August 20, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    Hi Jered

    I have received advice from Karen – it came out of the blue and was just great. It was clear that she wanted to help.

    If I wanted feedback on my blog I would approach someone like Karen because I know if there was criticism there it would be honest and done to help me improve my blog.

    I think before stating intentions and getting permission I would want to have developed a relationship with the blogger – a free roaming critic would worry me.
    Marion Anderson recently posted..How to Forgive – What you need to know about forgiveness

    • Jean Sarauer August 20, 2010 at 11:32 am #

      Karen rocks at giving advice! And it’s had the result of making me want to help boost her however I can because I know she’s genuine.

    • Jered August 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm #

      Hey Marion,

      I’m glad that you’ve gotten a lot from Karen’s advice.

      Many times it’s difficult to find people who are willing to share their best work or ideas with us.

      When someone provides advice that is of tremendous value, and presents it in a cool way (regardless of if it comes out of the blue or not), we may be less likely to see it as criticism.

      I also think that we never know when someone else might be having a bad day or be in a bad mood, and in that case coming out of no-where with advice or criticism could do more damage than good.

  6. {Grow With} Stacy August 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

    This is a great post! Constructive criticism can be such a helpful tool for growing in whatever we are doing, blogging included.

    I always appreciate a kind criticism and also the person who delivers it. It’s nice to know that they care enough to share their thoughts and to word it in such a way that is helpful.
    {Grow With} Stacy recently posted..Simple Ways to Re-Engerize Yourself

    • Jean Sarauer August 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

      Great way of looking at things, Stacy! It takes time for a person to thoughtfully give input on our blogs–we could truly look at it as a gift.

    • Jered August 20, 2010 at 2:45 pm #

      Hey Stacy,

      I agree with you that constructive criticism can help us in many areas of our lives, and that it’s not exclusive to the blogging community.

      Thanks for your insight!
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

  7. Angela Artemis August 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm #

    I agree – with you advice 100%. Reach out and befriend bloggers and then if you truly want to help, not because you want for egotistical reasons to prove that you know more, etc., email and ASK if it’s okay to offer a suggestion, or two.
    Angela Artemis recently posted..To Be Your Best – Surround Yourself with Inspiring People!

    • Jean Sarauer August 20, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

      Hi Angela. I’ve had some good experiences where a blogger will say something like, “I really appreciate your blog because . . .” From that point they’ll say something like, “one thing that really helped on my blog was when I . . .” It doesn’t feel like criticism at all but just a generous bit of inside info.

      What doesn’t sit so well is when a blogger just starts out cold and says, “You need to do XYZ!”
      I still tamp my ego down and use the input if it’s helpful, but it definitely doesn’t leave me feeling warm and fuzzy towards the blogger.

    • Jered August 20, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

      Right on, Angela.

      I think developing the bonding and trust with our fellow bloggers is critical.

      The more familiar we are, the more we know the other person and their intentions, the more we like and trust that individual, the more weight their perspective will have on us.

      I think it’s important that we develop our relationships with the right people who are willing to understand us, and who are genuine about helping us be our best.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

  8. Sandra Lee August 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

    Jered,

    This is excellent advice on how to give constructive feedback. However, I find people can be very touchy about receiving feedback – well the “constructive” kind – even when they ask for it outright on their blog. It’s a very sensitive area. So for now, I am sticking by my own guideline now to give “constructive” feedback unless asked personally.

    The advice you provide here is excellent for how to give feedback kindly and will certainly be the steps I follow when the occasion arises.

    Thanks very much for daring to discuss this hot topic!
    Sandra Lee recently posted..Expert advice on writing faster blog posts

    • Jean Sarauer August 20, 2010 at 3:46 pm #

      This discussion reminds me of how people react sometimes to blog reviews. They’ll act for open and honest feedback, yet when that comes, no matter how gently delivered, it’s rather obvious that what they really wanted was confirmation that they were 100% spot on with everything they’d already done.

      I suppose in the end it all comes back to the story we tell ourselves about what criticism means.
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  9. Jered August 20, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Sandra,

    You bring up an excellent point. Criticism can cause resentment, even when the other person asks for it… even demands it!

    Many times they aren’t looking for criticism, just someone to ease their uncertainty and to be a friend.

    The challenge is learning how to read people to figure out what they really want.

    I like Jean’s suggestion of addressing the problem indirectly, by keeping the problem or fault impersonal. I.e. If someone asks you about their blog web design, you could point them in the right direction by providing resources that you’ve learned from.

    In that case, just be aware that if people really want your perspective, and you have a strong relationship with that person, they may feel you are trying to avoid connection or you uncaring in your response if you don’t provide your personal perspective.
    Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

  10. Jean Sarauer August 20, 2010 at 3:47 pm #

    Hi everyone,

    I’m going to be stepping out for my weekend digital break now but wanted to thank Jered for another fabulous post. I really appreciate your talent, Jered, and your insightful comments absolutely rock!

    Have a great weekend everyone, and I’ll be back on Monday to catch up here!
    Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  11. Brandon Connell August 20, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

    This post title reminded me of my article on RobsWebTips. Nice tips. Unfortunately not every blogger will be open to accepting criticism. On top of that, there are some that would even get offended by you asking if you can criticize them.
    Brandon Connell recently posted..Why bloggers need to innovate to stay strong

    • Jered August 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm #

      Thanks for your insight, Brandon.

      I agree that people could get offended by asking if you can criticize them. I think, like Jean said, by presenting the criticism as a helpful tip it minimizes the chance of resentment.

      As far as asking for permission, it takes a high degree of tact to ask for permission the right way. “Can I criticize you and your blog?” is obviously a great way to arouse resentment.

      I think the key is in the bonding and trust, getting to the point where you and the other person are in total agreement about helping each other be the best.

      Then, asking to offer feedback is more likely to arouse excitement rather than resentment.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

      Hi Brandon. Definitely true that some have easily-ruffled feathers. That’s why there’s a real benefit in getting to know people beforehand so we can get a feel for where they stand.
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  12. Keith Davis August 21, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Hi Jered / Jean
    Golden rule – if you point out a fault… you must show them the solution or a better alternative.
    When I was an avid skier I used to train with a fantastic coach. He would watch you ski, tell you what you were doing wrong and then tell you what to do instead.
    If the fault was still there he would leave it and move on to something else – fantastic way to teach.

    Of course as we became friends he would just say “That was rubbish Keith… go up and do it again”. LOL
    Keith Davis recently posted..Two way traffic

    • Jered August 21, 2010 at 11:29 am #

      Keith,

      lol.

      I find it amazing how much people can get away with once they have that bonding and trust with someone.

      I think if we know the other person is there to help us be our best, we can be a little more forgiving of the harsh criticism.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

      Great story, Keith! Now I wish you’d write something pitiful just so I could say it’s rubbish. I love that word :)
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  13. Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella August 21, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Constructive criticism can be helpful. But you still have to be careful about giving it. Not everyone wants to know your opinion. It’s best to ask them first, if they’d be interested in hearing what you have to say.
    Blog Angel a.k.a. Joella recently posted..13 Free Ways To Manage And Rotate Ads In WordPress

    • Jered August 21, 2010 at 4:20 pm #

      I agree, Joella.

      If someone has interest in our opinion, that person is more likely to respect what we are saying rather than focusing on the source of the message.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:03 pm #

      Hi Joella. I think there are some people who, like Brandon pointed out, will never want to hear anything that points out an alternative view, no matter how thoughtfully phrased.
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  14. Aileen August 21, 2010 at 2:05 pm #

    Jered, this is a fantastic contribution to Jeans incredibly helpful and phenomenal blog.

    I wildly agree with Rob’s comment, “We are not doing anyone a favor when we are just being nice to them.”

    You gave some really great insight to offering constructive criticism:
    “State our intentions and get permission from our fellow blogger to give criticism.” – Fantastic suggestion!!!!

    great insight on asking for constructive criticism: “Ask our fellow bloggers for their perspective on our blogging.”

    great insight on how to give constructive criticism:
    “Instead of making direct statements, ask questions to understand our fellow blogger.” – as one who has received a good amount of uninvited criticisms. I love the question approach, it’s bypasses my defense mechanism. Brilliant suggestion!!!

    “The feedback should be personal in that our information should be presented through our own perspective.” – love this!

    seriously love this post!
    Aileen recently posted..The Legendary John Wooden Series- Enthusiasm and Industriousness

    • Jered August 21, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

      Thanks for your feedback, Aileen.

      I used to work as a writing consultant, and I would use questions to drive the discussion.

      It’s much easier to get someone to see a new perspective by asking questions because as you try to understand what the person is trying to do, they have to re-justify why they’ve done something. Oftentimes questioning led to learning experiences that I had never even intended.

      People are capable to enter into perspective work on their own. Sometimes it just helps to have others to act as a sympathetic listener.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:06 pm #

      Hi Aileen. I am really blessed to have Jered and other great guest posters contributing to the value here. I love the different perspectives and the discussions that ensue. Thank you for lending your voice!
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  15. J.D. Meier August 21, 2010 at 3:41 pm #

    I find that when somebody trusts you and you know how to make feedback actionable and useful, it goes a long way.
    J.D. Meier recently posted..Day 21 — Carry the Good Forward and Let the Rest Go

    • Jered August 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm #

      I agree J.D.

      Thanks for your comment.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:07 pm #

      Good point on making the feedback actionable, JD. Sometimes people aren’t doing things in the most beneficial way simply because they don’t know how!
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  16. Tess The Bold Life August 21, 2010 at 6:47 pm #

    Hi Jared,
    Thanks so much for mentioning my article! That said I forgot to add a title to my post yesterday. I had two people contact me and let me know. I then created one. Another time I had someone mention some spelling errors. I was sssooooooo grateful.

    I have ADHD and miss things quite often. In fact I’ve often thought about giving up because I’m tech challenged as well. So when others help me I love it. Those who know and love me don’t care about my small errors. They don’t judge me as unprofessional. And for that I’m eternally grateful.
    Tess The Bold Life recently posted..Mind Adventures- Rob White

    • Jered August 22, 2010 at 11:14 am #

      I think that’s one of the greatest things about genuine bonding and trust: the ability to look past the negative and focus on the positive.

      Though, I think it’s also good to have people that will act as helpful watch dogs to help catch the mistakes so that we can look our best.

      And, I’m happy to include your article. Quite frankly, your article is helpful and can be immediately applied to the success of someone’s blog.

      Rock on.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:12 pm #

      I’m like you Tess–I appreciate when someone emails me about spelling errors, broken links, etc.

      Thank goodness you have not given up, Tess. Your example of blogging with ADHD is inspiring! And, as a fellow tech-challenged blogger, I can understand the sense of overwhelm and occasional frustration that comes along with that.

      Here’s to helpful boosts and assists!
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  17. James King August 22, 2010 at 4:36 am #

    Constructive criticism is such a wonderful thing. We can learn so much. As indivduals we are so focused on our own goals. That we sometimes don’t see our own habits.

    • Jered August 22, 2010 at 11:17 am #

      You bring up a great point, James.

      I think sometimes it’s very difficult to be self-aware and realize what exactly we are doing.

      I like to give the example of the health teacher who is 300 pounds overweight and eats fast food every day. Something just doesn’t compute.

      For me, it helps to have an outside perspective to see what I’m doing and what I could change to be even better.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

      • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

        That’s what happens with me too, Jered–I get so close to something–a project, the blog, etc.–and I can miss things that are obvious to someone who is more detached.
        Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm #

      I love your attitude, James. You’ve got a friendly approachable way about you that comes through on your blog and on Twitter. That’s going to serve you well!
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  18. The Londoneer August 22, 2010 at 7:17 am #

    Frankly I’d welcome constructive criticism, but even though I know lots of other London bloggers well it’s never a subject that I’m been comfortable raising. I’m planning a poll post soon asking readers what they would like to see on the blog, so I’ll probably emphasise the fact that I’d really like people to tell me where I’m going wrong!
    The Londoneer recently posted..International Meeting of Styles- London 2010

    • Jered August 22, 2010 at 11:19 am #

      A poll! Now that’s a great idea.

      For some reason, I haven’t seen too many polls around lately. I know I see pop-up surveys and pop-up list building scripts, but I can’t even recall the last time I saw a genuine poll in someone’s sidebar.

      I wonder why?
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

      Fabulous idea to run a poll! I hope you get some fresh perspective from this.
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  19. Cristina August 22, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    Excellent post! I particularly like step 5
    “Instead of making direct statements, ask questions to understand our fellow blogger.” This is basically coaching, and from personal experience it helps A LOT.

    When offering a critique, kindness, empathy, and respect are key words,too, and they should be kept in mind in every other aspect of life, in my opinion.
    Also, some people don’t really want a critique, the only want praise, or having their efforts recognised…so I only criticise when asked, or, if it’s a friend, ask if I may suggest or say something. It’s about helping others, not being right :)

    Thanks for sharing :)
    Cristina recently posted..A calming retreat by the sea

    • Jered August 22, 2010 at 11:22 am #

      I love that quote, Cristina:

      “It’s about helping others, not being right.”

      That’s right on the money.
      Jered recently posted..Leading With Honesty

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

      I was thinking about the power of questions – I like it when someone says, “Jean, have you thought of running some posts on XYZ?” That doesn’t feel a bit like criticism to me. It feels like a dash of inspiration!
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  20. Joy August 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm #

    Hi Jered,
    Thank you..I love that you approach what might be considered a touchy subject. That shows you believe in helping your colleagues to advance..
    Reading through gives me confidence to approach my peers to solicit their feedback..
    I often email with encouragement and support because many times that is what is lacking in our community..We assume people know they are making a difference, becuse perhaps they have solid readership, when in fact some doubt the effectiveness of the energy they invest.

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:23 pm #

      Joy, your emails must really be day brighteners to bloggers. I think all of us run up against that ‘why am I doing this?’ wall now and again, and it means the world to get encouragement from a reader!
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  21. Jered August 22, 2010 at 7:19 pm #

    Joy,

    I agree that encouragement is sorely needed. And not just fleeting, passerby encouragement. I’m talking about the hold the phone, stop the world type of encouragement.

    Some people don’t have a strong idea of how much they are appreciated. It’s up to us to show them.

  22. Katie August 22, 2010 at 7:34 pm #

    This advice goes way beyond blogging. It’s terrific advice for parents, teachers, anyone offering constructive criticism. I agree with Cristina, it is about helping others. When actions come from that place of kindness, it usually shows. Egos move out of the way, making room for progress and improvement. Good stuff. Thanks Jered.
    Katie recently posted..How to Embrace First Day Jitters While Fending Off Your Inner Worry Wart

    • Jean Sarauer August 22, 2010 at 9:30 pm #

      Hi Katie. When I think of how busy most bloggers are, the notion that they’d take time to share helpful feedback seems even more like an act of kindness. It’s so easy to just click away and not share tips that could make a real difference to a blog’s success.
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Criticize Our Fellow Bloggers

  23. Sharbori August 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi Jered,

    excellent post. I especially like the following portion: “It goes without saying that being genuinely interested in other people and providing them with tremendous value will help you develop your friendships”.

    I think whether we are offering our thoughts, comments or criticisms, if we are not genuinely interested in the other person, we may end up displaying the power of our knowledge and skills, rather than our sense of connect with a fellow blogger.

    And to be genuinely interested, one has to have a sense of respect to both self and the other person irrespective of the quality and nature of content in the blog.

    great tips. thank you.
    Sharbori recently posted..Your Well-being Is Your Responsibility

    • Jean Sarauer August 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

      Motives really do lie at the heart of this. If we truly want to see the person improve and grow, then our tone will be warm, supportive, and encouraging. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
      Jean Sarauer recently posted..How to Find Blog Post Inspiration

  24. PrincessAprilAnn February 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    People have different opinions what they say about your questions you ask them.

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