Monday, February 4, 2013

Manners Monday: How to Make Your Point with Tact

We all have our own interests, many of us try to learn as much as we can not only for ourselves but sometimes in an effort to help or educate others also. While this is often a blessing to others many times, it can sometimes be a curse if our approach isn't handled properly. It's important to speak the truth but it needs to be done in love. 

If you follow our Facebook Community, then you've probably already seen this image and quote this morning (I meant to post this yesterday for Manners Monday but it was left in draft mode so while it's really Tuesday, I backdated it to yesterday (Monday) to keep with our series). Today is all about tips on how to communicate effectively with tact, credibility and diplomacy. Not only is it a great skill to have for your professional life but it's just an all-around important life skill to master.

Never let making your opinion known become so important that you alienate others in the process. We all have our own perspective and valuable insight, however, we need to be mindful to put ourselves in the other person's shoes! :) ALWAYS be gracious and kind not allowing yourself to act like a condescending know-it-all. (I think we all know a few of these people and they never leave anybody feeling good about themselves).

Here are 5 Steps to Making Your Point with Tact:

1.  Listen More than You Speak- This is true with any kind of conversation, debate or argument. When one person does all of the talking, the others listening will eventually tune out not wanting to participate in one-way communication. Others' opinions should be heard, respected and taken into account before continuing with your own point. A conversation tailored around everyone's points makes the most sense and helps others feel included instead of ignored and as if you're a one-person show.

2. Know What you are Talking About- When we feel strongly about something, it's only natural to want to share our points of view with others, especially when it comes to potentially benefiting someone else in the process or forewarning them against something that could put them in danger, but as the one making a point it's important to know your stuff. Confidence through knowledge is key when sharing with others and always will sense it. If you're discussing politics, don't just throw silly opinions into the mix without facts to back it up, you'll only get others in an uproar or cause confusion. Perhaps you want to encourage someone's good health, be sure to know the precise points that pertain to them and how it can help them, not cause undue stress. Instead, choose to pursue conversations and make valid points based on actual knowledge in that particular area. It's hard to be diplomatic if your'e making flippant remarks that really have no basis.

3. Think Before You Speak-A classy woman doesn't insult others while trying to make her voice heard. She spares others her unsolicited advice, does not become pushy by speaking over others and making mean remarks to prove her point. Nobody will listen to or respect anyone who treats another in such a manner. It is both the choice of words you use and the tone in which you use them that will speak volumes to the others around you and show them how much you value and respect them as a person over you own perspective. Ask yourself: Is it helpful, is it kind, is it necessary?

4. Check Your Emotions at the Door- We are human, we have feelings and for women especially, we can tend to be emotional at times. When it comes to a hot debate or discussion of sorts, we have to remember that we cannot let others' opinions feel like the rejection of our own. No matter what the topic, you'll never have 100% of people agree with you, so trying is futile. Sometimes you just have to learn to agree to disagree. I believe this point is what causes a lot of hurt feelings on both sides, feeling as if others' not agreeing with you means that they are against you. These feelings can cause retaliation and lead to something bigger in an attempt to protect one's ego. Just remember that it's a difference of opinion, everyone involved are adults and it's not worth losing your cool over.

5. Acknowledge Another's Education and Perspective- One of the greatest experiences and benefits of good communications is coming away from a conversation learning more than you knew going into it. When conversation is kept respectful; even when it's in the form of a debate on child rearing techniques, the state of our environment or politics, it becomes a joy instead of a burden and it keeps us coming back together for more. It is in these moments when we feel appreciative, that we need to thank and acknowledge the others that participated. It doesn't need to sound formal or stuffy at all, just a simple, "I'm really glad that you shared that today, I had no idea that was even an option for our family". Another great phrase is, " I always learn so much from you" or "you're a wealth of knowledge on natural health remedies", etc. Obviously you don't want to encourage a rude, overbearing person who dominates a conversation by praising them in this way for the sake of being polite, save such sincere compliments only for those who truly deserve it. After all, we feel good when others recognize us in some small way.

I'd love to hear your feedback in the comments below!

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  1. great post on manners.
    checking your emotions at the door is crucial.
    we're all passionate about certain can be so easy to think that our passion gives us the right to share our opinions to the point of alienation.

    loved this Karla!

    1. Thanks Tara! Yes, you stated that so well. Many confuse their passion with their right to share their opinion. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  2. That was great! I liked mainly "know what you're talking about" and "think before you speak".

    Sometimes, even when we talk kindly, people do not response at the same goodness. Sometimes, we can follow this guide, but other people don't. Then, I think that we have to just give up. It's a way to demonstrate that we are more than our opinions. What you think about it?


    1. That's true, Thais. All we can do is OUR best and if others don't respond well, it's their issue. There's no need to give up but there is a fine line between sharing our opinion(sometimes unsolicited advice) and adding constructively to a conversation about a particular topic. :) Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!


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