Thank you, film critic A.O. Scott of The New York Times, for your elegant introduction to the art of criticism.
So, as is our habit, we’ll riff on your title, and apply it to our everyday business activities.
Straight out: Regardless of our position as communicators, brand gurus, designers, marketers, and the like, and regardless of our industry tenure, criticism does rankle when coming from clients (who are not necessarily writers or …). Scott does point out that judging work is an indispensable activity, and often a democratic and conversational one. Yet sometimes the criticism is delivered a bit too sharply and gets under our creative skins.
On the other hand, our clients pay for our best work – and criticism, pundits say, must be calculated into the compensation. Much like the system of performance management in companies, we’re suggesting that when drafts and storyboards are reviewed, the reviewers remember that criticism is based on a social relationship. Herewith our ‘asks’ for our critics. Ideally, your rendered judgments need to be:
- Brief and succinct
- Relevant and to the point
- Clear, specific, and precise
- Well researched
- Sincere and positively intended and
- Articulate, persuasive, and actionable.
Which means, from our point of view, that you assess work fairly and accurately, with no blame. For sure, we can fix anything – and will. It makes it a lot easier when the judge is constructive: no finger pointing, no negativism, and no personal attacks. Tell us exactly what your vision is. We’re happy to march to that aspiration.