Sometimes we have incredible ideas or thoughts that would make a world of difference in the business and people or around us, but end up sabotaging ourselves in our communication and vision casting to others. 

It’s essential to show diplomacy and tact when working with others through projects, plans, and life. Diplomacy is the act of letting someone else have your way while tact is your ability to get your point across without making an enemy or hurting a relationship. 

Focus on the golden rule

How often have you seen a video online of someone acting crazy and just thought, “Why can’t people just be nice to one another?” As easy as it sounds following the golden rule when dealing with others can be a challenge sometimes. 

  • Double down on the power of courtesy and politeness. Your likeability factor will go along way in helping carry you and your message or thought to completion. 
  • Remember that being friendly doesn’t mean that you have to be a pushover. Remain professionally assertive to advance your point while also valuing the relationships in the meeting.
  • Leaning in on the golden rule will also lead you towards a tendency to communicate more subtly to influence others. Subtlety can sometimes be just as powerful s being direct and to the point. 

Empathy is the bridgebuilder

Listening empathetically to other people’s opinions and insight can certainly help you as you interact with others with tact and diplomacy. We recently did a small series on empathy and its power in your leadership (EP 245-247).  Here are some additional tips to help you utilize empathy in these moments.

  • Listen with an empathetic ear as others share. Put yourself in their place to fully appreciate where they are coming from. Instead of focusing on a rebuttal, ask additional questions around getting clarity from their perspective. 
  • Think empathetically before you communicate with others. Save yourself some time and grief by thinking through how your communication will impact those it’s aimed at. This will help you frame the message better and perhaps any change some aspects of it preemptively to better match the audience. 
  • Look to turn more statements into questions. This tactic helps the other person begin to build a bridge back to you. It also helps in building buy-in and ownership in what the topic is about. 

In heated moments lean in on self-management

You have likely physically felt the moment in a meeting where things are taking an undesirable turn. Your heart starts racing, you feel your skin heat up or you notice subtle changes in your body.  You can’t lead yourself with tact and diplomacy if you let your emotions run you over.  Strengthen your self-management so you can handle those challenging and sometimes surprising moments.

  • Focus on your tone, pacing, and speed of your voice. Your words may be saying one thing in the situation but how you are saying it may be a different story.  Slow down instead of keeping the speed up to get the point across. (EP 202)
  • Just like your voice, grow self-awareness of the physical ticks and tendencies that you have so your body is communicating the same message that your words are.  (EP 186)
  • Shut down the voice in your head telling you to speak up more to get your point across. Be mindful to listen more than you talk. 
  • Maintain your composure when you are criticized. No one is going to like every single aspect of your world-changing thoughts and ideas. (Or at least they shouldn’t). Make sure that you keep your composure so that you don’t look like a sore loser or unstable when the heat is applied. 
  • Have awareness around your sarcasm, snarkiness, and demands that you have on others. 

Be the diplomat that others look to in meetings and negotiations. Acting with diplomacy and tact will increase the value of your word, the level of influence that you have on your organization, and your career and earning potential. 

Make a better tomorrow.