Correcting Kindly

We all make mistakes when writing. Sometimes these mistakes even make their way into final publications, presentations, blog posts or emails. When you find an error in a colleague’s writing project, treat them the way you would  like to be treated by correcting them kindly. The writing will improve, as will your relationship!

Here are a few simple tips for pointing out mistakes with kindness:

  1. If the writing can be updated (such as with a blog post or powerpoint presentation), tell the writer about the mistake as quickly as possible, so they avoid public embarrassment. If the writing can’t be updated (such as a printed brochure), tell the writer to keep the change in mind for future printings.
  2. Approach the writer privately, either in person or via email, never through a public message board.
  3. Describe everything that the writer got right in detail. For example, describe how the presentation inspired you to do something new or how you appreciate the blog’s creativity.
  4. Be specific when pointing out the error.
  5. Acknowledge their efforts in writing the document.

All of these steps help maintain the writer’s self-esteem, fix an error and–most importantly–bolster your professional relationship with a kind, sincere discussion.

Here’s an example of a kind correction:

Subject: Lone mistake in “Innovating Production” presentation

Hi Chris,

Congratulations on a wonderful presentation! The entire group was impressed by how you organized the issue so intuitively and gave us lots of practical tips for improving–and rewarding–innovative performance. I want to point out a typo I found on slide 10: aberrant is misspelled. “We must encourage abberant thinking and experimentation” should read, “We must encourage aberrant thinking and experimentation.” 

A super small mistake! Congrats, again, on this success–your hard work paid off. We’re looking forward to learning more from you in future presentations.

Cheers,

Kathleen

Do you have any examples of a kind correction? Do you associates correct mistakes kindly? I’d love other examples, so please pass along your experiences!

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One thought on “Correcting Kindly

  1. Pingback: First Step of Success.! « Life is…………..

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