Create A 'Complaint Sandwich' To Become A More Effective Bellyacher

Complaining effectively can make your life better, but we often resort to anger and other poor methods of voicing our opinions. Master complainer Guy Winch, author of The Squeaky Wheel, has nine specific suggestions that he believes will help your complaints regularly hit their mark.

Photo by Loke Yek Mang (Shutterstock).

They're pretty simple and are easy to adopt with just a little practice:

  1. Voice one complaint at a time, and start with what's most important.
  2. Practice with easier complaints first and work your way up to the bigger stuff.
  3. Identify the person who has the power to actually resolve your complaint effectively and go to that person directly.
  4. Before voicing your dissatisfaction, know your ideal outcome so you know what you're fighting for in the first place.
  5. Quell your anger. Venting frustration causes more problems than it solves. If you're not level-headed, you won't get very far.
  6. When you complain, use this structure: start with something that will make you sympathetic, then get to the actual complaint, and finally motivate the listener to do something about it.
  7. Be honest. If you're part of the problem, admit it.
  8. Don't become a chronic complainer. Use your skills when you need them most, otherwise you may not be taken seriously.
  9. Use compliments when possible. If there's a moment when you can thank the listener or give specific, positive feedback, do it. This will make them want to help you.

For more tips on effective complaining, check out our complaining guide. We've also put together a complaint form letter to help you get started if your complaints are written rather than voiced.

The 9 Habits of Highly Effective Complainers [Psychology Today]


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