When it comes to providing negative feedback, I have rarely heard a salesman deliver what could be described as constructive criticism. In almost every case, the stereotypical dominance takes over. “That’s not good enough” is as mild as I can recount, minus the raised voice and expletives.
I’ve blogged before on how those in sales could tone down and benefit from a more measured approach to pointing out flaws.
And I was reminded of this when a stack of re-runs of cook-off game show Junior Masterchef ran in the background when I was somewhere the other day.
The reflective structure that was deployed to deliver bad news on each dish was so strikingly repeated that it must have been a conscious decision to use the technique. All three well-known food industry judges used it time after time; Nadia Sawalha, John Torode & Gregg Wallace.
Perhaps it was to avoid exploitative accusations from pitting the pre-teen contestants against each other. Maybe it was to ensure an inevitable ratings crash didn’t occur as a consequence of children’s tears should the assessors get too harsh in their reviews.
Either way, light was ably shed on how to pass on thoughts that someone else may not like to hear.
Here’s roughly what was said after tasting five of the dishes that caught my ear.
Green seafood curry with noodles:
‘great sauce, prawns cooked to perfection, if only the gorgeous sauce flavour was in them, overall delicious’
‘very tasty, raw sage on top perhaps overpowered the dish and I wanted three times more butternut as it was so good, but terrific’
‘rice perfect egg, salad really good, would be even better with lots more of the wonderful dressing, overall beautifully fresh’
‘crispy on the outside moist on the inside love the golden syrup coating, could’ve done with a touch of lemon in the sponge and would have loved more syrup but overall delicious’
‘crispy on the outside, marshmallow soft in the middle with lovely contrast of the sour raspberries, the cream could do with a touch of vanilla in it, all round though, great’
So the construct was the same every time; praise, error, positive summary.
After each verdict, the young chefs all smiled. It seemed that the sandwiching of where there was room for improvement between what was good both spurred them on and meant they’d likely take on board the pointers.
Sounds like a winning way to coach anyone you work with or sell to onwards and upwards.
note also this post from August later in this year