I do understand the idea that criticism is best given in a way that considers social implications rather than just the practical ones, but... what if you have nothing to praise? I do some critique (informal, granted, and of nonpublished writing) and I have noticed that, surprise, hammering people with everything that's wrong with their work is not the best way to get them to fix things. Even when I know I'm right and have more experience than they do. But oftentimes the work is of such a quality that there really isn't anything to compliment. So, are you suggesting that it's best to /make up/ a compliment or strain yourself to find something to praise rather than risk offending the writer? (Or speaker, or whichever.)
On a related note, is it necessary to use such indirect means of communicating a change you'd like to see made? Indirect meaning "/Maybe/ some examples from your experience as an accountant?" (note the question mark). Is that more or less effective than directly stating, "I'd like to see some examples from your experience as an accountant."?
I don't think so. I'd say that sometimes--oftentimes--it's best to be direct. That encourages understanding, and with indirect requests or criticism you run the risk of the recipient having a sense that your criticism is somehow optional, that since you're not stating it forcefully they must have a choice whether or not to make the change. This is circumventive and, in my opinion, gets nothing done.
Interesting article, and solidly written, but I do have to say that I'm not convinced you're completely right.