I don't care what you think

It looks great, it feels right, that was boring, this looks dull. These are all examples of evaluative language. Most of us default to these kind of terms when giving feedback.

Be it positive or negative, we use evaluative terminology to judge things and people, which usually works against us if we want our conversations to produce actionable outcomes. At best it feeds the ego, at worst it spoils the relationship, usually it just wastes everybody’s time.

The better approach is to let our impressions and feelings take the back seat and choose to describe instead. Using descriptive language is not for the lazy. It requires you to be specific, and so to look closer, ask questions and listen carefully.

That’s not only more generous, but also more productive. it helps the other person see things more clearly, make better decisions, and own the next action as well as its results, and when everybody can function well in autonomy everybody wins.

We all suffer to different degrees from our evaluative tendencies, the good news is that a conscious effort to limit the use of sentences starting with “I think …” or “I feel …” may be enough to keep them in check. It’s not easy, I’ll give you that.