Remember, Marta, the manager said, "Nice job on the report. It looks great. Yeah, so there are some edits that I've written in the margins, but otherwise, it looks great." Marta says, "Thanks," but makes few changes. What went wrong? Have you ever heard of the criticism sandwich? It looks like this. You start with something positive, then you say the criticism, then you end with something positive. It is supposed to be so gentle and kind that the other person will be more receptive to the criticism, and it could work but unfortunately most people use it exactly as did our manager here. That is to say, they turn the criticism sandwich into a giant hamburger bun with lots of fluffy carbs and a tiny piece of hamburger meat in the middle. Here's what happens when we use a hamburger method for criticism. All our listener hears are the nice, gentle soft words. The criticism is so short and minimal. Marta could be thinking, "Oh, I guess that's not a big deal. It sounds like the boss really likes the report with just a few changes," or the listener hears the first line of fluffy, meaningless, sugary compliments and knows the criticism is coming next. Many people don't even listen to the positive stuff because they're so busy thinking to themselves, "Oh, boy, here it comes." The hamburger method does not work. Now there is a good reason for that plus sign. We say something positive to start for the same reason that when we're driving with a passenger in our car and have to break suddenly, many of us will put out our arm as if to protect that passenger. Forgive me if you don't drive. This metaphor may make sense only to those who do, but because the driver knows they're about to break, they've prepared their body. The passenger who doesn't realize the car is going to break hard, maybe flung forward further than the driver even with the safety belt. When we're about to do something that will have an impact on another person, we want to reduce the impact as much as we can, so we still need the positive. I recommend replacing the hamburger bun with the tortilla method, the chapati, the egg roll wrapper, the injera, the nun, lapeta, whatever thin, soft bread in your house that wraps all the way around the protein source, that's the method. What I'm talking about here is wrapping the criticism entirely in a layer of respect, of grace, of recognition for the person's intelligence and effort. I am not talking about praise or flattery, I am not suggesting you make something up to appreciate, although in general, I strongly recommend looking for things that other people do that you appreciate and saying them as soon as you see them. When we give people clear, direct appreciation without contaminating it with criticism, people know what we want them to do more of, and they no longer assume that if we say something nice, it is only because we're about to say something mean. You can empower the criticism you are trying to communicate by communicating your appreciation at other times. Instead, I'm going to say specifically and concretely what I need Marta to do differently and I'm going to say it in a way that acknowledges her as a hard-working human being. Marta, thank you for getting the report done on time. I know you're swamped with work and there are some changes I need you to make. I've marked them in the margins and I'm happy to walk through them if you need. I need the report revised with these changes by 5:00 p.m. I appreciate your attention to this now. Would you like to review my notes and get back to me with questions? Notice that I did not insert the word 'but' anywhere. I didn't say, "Thank you for getting the report done on time, I know you're swamped with work, but there are some changes." Drop 'but' from your vocabulary. Don't misunderstand me. I am not saying to surround any criticism with positive statements, I'm saying be respectful, be supportive, be clear and then be quiet. You do not have to repeat yourself unless the person did not understand. Notice very importantly the outcome sought and the exact date and time it's expected is stated at the end and there you have it. The tortilla method. So why doesn't Amit lower the price on the winter coats?