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How to Correct Someone without Embarrassing Them

Learn how to correct someone without embarrassing them from manners expert Faye de Muyshondt in this Howcast video.


Hi. I'm Faye de Muyshondt with Social Skills here to talk about how to correct someone without embarrassing them. Now, this can really be a slippery slope. You have to be really careful as to who you're correcting in life in general. Correcting someone is often done with close friends or family, or done in an office environment where's there's a boss needing to make a correction in someone's work. A few things to keep in mind as you do make a correction or if you do need to correct someone, is that you want to do this when no one else is around. So, you want to either pull the person aside or just be sure that you're not doing it in a group setting. That just leads to humiliation and making matters far worse for the person that's being corrected.

I once read an article that talked about the fact that if you're not corrected on the job or if things aren't pointed out that you need to do better, then your boss might not even care enough about you to make those corrections. So, if your boss or someone is making the effort to correct you, it shows that they really want the best for you. So, once you've got the person aside and you're in a private environment, it's all about how you say what you're going to say. So, rather than saying 'you didn't do this right' or 'this was done wrong,' you might say it a little bit differently. So, for example, you might want to use the sandwich technique, which is saying something positive, then offering the correction in the middle or in the meat part of the sandwich, and then saying something positive again. So, for example, it might be, 'I think you're a really great friend and I love spending time with you. But when you put me down in front of other people, it's really offensive and I just wanted to let you know because you mean a lot to me and I want our friendship to continue on.' You can use this same tactic in an office environment.

So, it might be, 'I think you're great at what you do, but what I think could enhance your performance at the workplace is the following.' And once you say what you need to say, you can wrap it up with something positive again. 'I really like working with you and it's been a pleasure getting to know you.' And if you need to make a small correction, for example, if someone's fly is down, it's the same type thing. Just pull the person aside and make mention that their fly is down. Don't do it in front of other people. Those are just a few tips on how to correct someone without embarrassing them.

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