Leadership/Management, Leadership/Management Tips, Team Member Engagement

6 Rules for Communicating with Diplomacy and Tact

by Caug124

March 1st, 2011

We have all been awed by a Manager or a Team Member who always seems to know what to say and how to say it in any situation. These people know how to communicate with diplomacy, tact and confidence.

The way in which we communicate can elicit positive or negative emotions. If we communicate aggressively, without respect or sensitivity, defensive or angry emotions can prevent others from hearing the message we are trying to convey. Communicating with diplomacy and tact is an approach that combines strength and sensitivity and keeps negative emotions at bay.

The Six Rules for Disagreeing Agreeably

Rule #1: Give others the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the person who made that outrageous generalization isn’t really insensitive. Maybe this person has had a painful experience that made him overreact.

Rule #2: After giving someone the benefit of the doubt, listen to learn and truly understand why this person holds this belief. We must let him/her know we’ve heard them and we are genuinely trying to see things from their perspective.

Rule #3: Always take responsibility for our own feelings, when disagreeing with someone. Make a commitment to respond using “I” statements only. When we begin with “you” we come off as blaming and confrontational and immediately put the other person on the defensive. This reduces the chance of our point of view being heard.

Rule #4: Use a cushion. Connect or “cushion” a different opinion, starting with “I hear what you’re saying” Or “I appreciate your view on”. Again, begin with the word “I” and not “You said…” or it will sound confrontational.

Rule #5: Eliminate the words “but” or “however” from our vocabulary. Once we have cushioned the other person’s opinion, use “and,” or pause and say nothing, following the cushion. Acknowledging the individual’s point of view and following it with a “but” or “however” erases the acknowledgement.

Rule #6: State our point of view or opinion with relevant and factual evidence. Keep our emotions out of the equation by using the following formula:

  • Take time to reflect:
    What do I think?
    Why do I think it?
    What evidence do I have?
  • Then speak:
    “One example is”
    “This shows that”
    “Therefore, I think”

To learn more, download our eBook on how to be diplomatic and tactful or register to Dale Carnegie Training’s interpersonal communication skills training coursesHow to Be Diplomatic and Tactful - Communication Skills





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  4. Carolee /

    Here is my problem, my adult son has a rare disease and he vomits a lot. Sometimes his seizure meds will not stay down and I have to call the general practition’s nurse. She always recommends the ER, and the ER does not want to see us anymore. I get mad at the nurse, and I say something inappropriate.

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