June 13, 2013

Critique: The Sandwich Technique

Use the "Sandwich Technique"
when you give someone a critique,
pointers, or areas of improvement.

I learned this when I was eighteen. I was a Swimmer in High School and I became a Lifeguard and Swim Instructor. In my Water Safety Instructor Course, one of the first things my instructor taught me was to use the "Sandwich Technique."

First he said, "The one thing you don't want to do is make a child afraid to come to class because he is going to get scolded by you for not doing a good job, learning how to swim. It is very important for them to feel welcome and appreciated for the effort they give, no matter how small or great that effort is. When you critique them you have to be careful not to bruise their ego. They are there to learn how to swim, and that is a very important thing."

Then he pointed out, "Critique in this way . . . Positive, Negative, Positive."

I thought about it for a moment, and it really made sense. Sandwich your critique between two positives. The pluses outweigh the minus. You have a better impact because you don't just come out and say, "Here is what you did wrong, you suck, get better at this!" Bosses do that. Leaders use the sandwich technique.

Twenty-one years later, I still think about this. The sales people I manage and lead are the same way as the children I taught how to swim. They want to be respected. They don't want to be afraid to come to work and have their boss up on their back all the time. They want to know they are doing a good job. And they want to be treated in a professional manner.

The sandwich technique accomplishes all of this and it is the easiest thing to do, and it doesn't cost any money!

In other words tell your employees; Good Job . . . Needs Improvement . . . Good Job!

I did this yesterday and I got a look with a smile that said, "Who is this guy, and what did you just say to me, it makes me feel good!"

Here is what I said;:

"I like the way you found out what the customer wanted and created interest in the product . . . One area I would work on is to ask for the sale, we let the customer go without asking . . . you did a good job and earned the right with your enthusiastic presentation and you left the customer excited about you and our product!"

That is just one idea of how to use this technique. If you were this person how would you feel?

How would you feel if you were critiqued the normal way? 

"You forgot to ask the customer to buy our product, make sure you write an order up next time or it could be your last customer!"
Which way do you think this person is going to respond to more?

The other thing you can do is coach. After using the sandwich technique you can do some role playing so that they can learn how to get better at asking for the sale.

"Now, here is one way you could ask for the sale . . ." Show them how to write up the order.

The "Sandwich Technique" is and always will be the best tool you can have in your Managerial Skills Bag.


-- by Tim Northburg LifeWork Elements

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