What's your favourite sandwich?  Mine is definitely the 'feedback sandwich".  It's a wonderful thing to have to hand.  Admittedly, it's one of those things that you might prefer to give rather than receive but, hey, nothing's perfect. You've probably come across the" feedback sandwich" before: it's a three part thing – or, more correctly, a 3 step way of communicating with someone.  Here's the recipe: Part 1 praise/reassurance Part 2 carefully worded observation of what could be done better Part 3 prais/ reassurance. Parts 1 and 3 are all about picking up on what you like about what someone else is doing or saying.  Instead of focusing on the thing that could be annoying the living daylights out of you.  It's just a fact of life: people tend to be more receptive to criticism if they don't feel under attack. If you don't trigger their fight or flight reflex, they're probably going to be more willing to listen to what you have to say.  If they hear what you say, there's a better chance that they will respond appropriately: i.e. in the way you hope they will respond. It's cheap, cheerful, and effective. I was talking earlier with a colleague  who is as familiar with the feedback sandwich as I am. A certain family member had been driving him mad, being as provoking as only this person can be.  He'd told her in no uncertain terms where she was falling down on the job of behaving like a functional adult.  He told her how he wanted her to behave instead.  And he added: "But she wasn't listening, of course." "Of course" is about right. No feedback sandwich, no cooperation. He was peeved with me for suggesting that he should shelve his intense –deserved – irritation so as to express himself in a pleasant, encouraging manner.  He didn't think her behaviour merited that. It probably didn't. Still, it's all about deciding what matters to you. If what matters most to you is doing your best impersonation of a pressure cooker hissing and spluttering when you've just opened the steam valve, then the feedback sandwich will be a waste of your time.  You'll be denying yourself the pleasure of a good hiss and splutter. But if what you really want is to help that person move beyond being so annoying, then the feedback sandwich is very probably the best cheap and cheerful tool to hand. Even better, its effect is cumulative: the more you use it, the better the results tend to be. Besides, when you use it you don't have to spend the next hour, or several, trying to calm yourself down again.  No major incident need occur in the act of communicating. That's why I love the feedback sandwich. Fury is a dish best served hot.  Revenge is – allegedly – a dish best served cold.  The feedback sandwich is the dish best served habitually.  That's my take on the feedback sandwich. What do you think?
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