Someone has just criticized you for whatever it may be. That is bad enough and sadly it often does not end there. Next comes the lecture on how you should have dealt with the situation you have just been criticized for. At the end of it all you feel pretty deflated and perhaps worthless.
This should be enough reason for you to not criticize and preach to other people – that is if you are aware that this is what you are doing. It takes a fair amount of self-awareness to recognise if your behaviour irritates other people.
Criticizing and Preaching are brothers and they have the same father called Judging. And this is where it starts. When you judge someone, you are likely to go on and criticize him or her and perhaps even preach to them what in your opinion is right or wrong.
Of course preaching can also happen without the initial criticism. Think about your circle of friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, etc. Is there a Mr or Mrs “Know-it-all” amongst them? Someone who has done everything, knows everything, and has an opinion on everything?
When people preach, i.e. impose their views on you at great length we tend to stop listening. Either we switch off or move to another conversation at the other end of the room, e.g. at parties. Imagine if a reason for preaching is to seek attention and the opposite happens – that does not make a person feel good about themselves.
If you are worried that you might be the preacher there are a couple of things you can check. Do people get restless when you speak? Look the other way? Move away? Do they make subtle or direct hints such as “Sure, interesting, but I’ve got to go, I have a meeting” or “Oh, here comes the lecture”
Another thing to check is fact vs opinion. If there is real substance to what you say, people will pick up on that immediately and listen. If you are just forcing your ill supported opinions on people they will also work that out pretty quickly and move away.
Finally, before you accuse me of doing the preaching, if you want discuss how you can improve your communication skills, please do not hesitate to contact me for a no obligation conversation.