A diplomatic person is someone who has great people skills. This person is able to deal with sensitive matters and people in a tactful manner. Being diplomatic is an important character trait to develop in both your personal and professional life. This article addresses 8 steps to learn how to be diplomatic. For those seeking more in-depth assistance and learning, the American Management Association offers live online and onsite seminars dealing with How to Communicate with Diplomacy, Tact and Credibility.
# 1 Think Before Speaking
The worst action you can take while trying to be diplomatic is to speak rashly. When we open our mouths to speak without first thinking, especially in emotionally charged situations, nothing good can come from that. The first step necessitates the art of listening. Hear what others are saying and process that information before speaking.
# 2 Concentrate on the Facts
Diplomatic people know how to focus on the facts rather than acting in emotion. In tense situations, it is very easy to ignore the facts and speak out through your feelings. Those who can clearly see the facts have a better chance of figuring out a positive resolution to the situation.
# 3 Maintain a Diplomatic Stance
Body language speaks volumes. Maintain a friendly and open stance. If you want to portray an open line of communication, don’t cross your arms across your chest. Remember to smile, nod, mirror behavior and use open gestures. Carol Goman shares some helpful tips for positive body language in her Forbes article.
# 4 Use Specific Language
Diplomatic situations call for specificity. This is not the time to go down the rabbit trail of stream of consciousness conversations. Be purposeful in your conversation. Choose your words wisely and say what you mean in a concise way that your audience will understand.
# 5 Refrain From Acting Aggressively
Discussing sensitive matters can quickly go downhill if either party decides to act aggressively. You need to make a conscious effort to decide to refrain from aggressive tactics. Shouting is not an option. Don’t even raise your voice. Pause often and formulate your thoughts before simply spouting off like a boiling teapot.
# 6 Stir Clear of Emotional Situations
If you, or the other participant in the discussion, are already exhibiting an emotional response, the best option is to step away from the conversation. Two emotional and irrational people having a conversation is a situation asking for trouble. The discussion will quickly become an argument. If you must speak with someone over an emotionally charged issue, make every effort possible to hold your own emotions in check. Speak only to the facts and try to calmly redirect the conversation whenever it veers off topic.
# 7 Politely Refuse to be Interrupted
Tense conversations that are emotionally charged have a higher tendency for either party to interrupt the other or to be interrupted. Personally, I cannot stand being interrupted during conversations. This is especially the case when the conversation begins turning into an argument. However, in trying to be diplomatic, it is so important to be polite. Allow the other person to finish speaking before you interject into the conversation. If you are interrupted, stand up for yourself in a civil manner and ask this other person to permit you to continue speaking. If this conversation turns from a courteous give-and-take to a frenzied free-for-all, immediately end the conversation.
# 8 Be Decisive and Maintain Your Ground
The final step toward being diplomatic is to be decisive in your goal of the conversation. You want to be single-minded in reaching your end point—a peaceful solution to the disagreement. At no point should you compromise on your principles. However, while continuing to be decisive you also need to be able to implement a compromise into the issue. Both parties should benefit from the end result.
Learning how to be diplomatic is simple if you can apply the right steps and be disciplined to follow them. Some of the main points are to think before you speak, deal with the facts without emotionalism and with no aggression. A diplomatic person can go far and succeed in life and is an invaluable professional asset to have.
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