What is the purpose of a critique?
A critique is given so that a designer can get design related opinions about their design, by other designers. This is so they can improve their designs and future designs.
What steps would you take to begin critiquing a design?
First you would ask yourself what you liked about the design, what you didnt like about the design, what the design reminded you of, and how you can tell the designer all this without hurting their feelings.
How do you minimise the risk of offending a designer when critiquing their work?
You do this by keeping your comments factual about the design; not offering suggestions on how to change the design but ways to improve it; and being extra extra polite and sensitive.
As a designer, what are the benefits of being able to accept critiquing of your work?
The benefits are you can see where your going wrong- if you keep doing the same bad stuff without it being critiqued- how are you to know it is bad? critiques help you to do more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff... because you soon learn what is good and bad.