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4 tips to be diplomatic in tough conversations

Often you will be faced to tell someone something he may not want to hear, whether it’s a bad news, giving an answer to a question that you know will not please, or maybe it’s a last-minute request.

Regardless, there are many different ways to communicate this, some of which are more efficient than others. Here are some tips to help you deliver a message the right way:

1. Watch your facial expression and body language

One thing that can speak louder than words is your body language , so be careful how you look when you have something “tricky” to say or ask.

For example, avoid having a smile when you are announcing a bad news to someone; it may be because you are nervous, but you still need to be careful because it can greatly offend who you are talking to.

There are many things to consider when thinking about body language which will not be covered in this article, but a quick research on the web and you’ll easily find plenty of tips 🙂

2. Do not beat around the bush but balance it

If you have something to say, say it in a reasonnably short amount of time.  If you talk, and talk, and talk, and never get to the point, the person you are talking to may get irritated, more worried, or worst, and will be less likely to be open-minded about what you are going to say.

Do be careful and balance how you handle this; a short introduction or a small “Sorry but…” never hurts, if you cut everything to the bone and drop the bomb, you may also come as too abrupt.

3. Explain why

Receiving a bad news or a last-minute request is never really fun, but not knowing why it has to be that way can be even worst; take the time to explain the context and answer questions, this will help motivate or attenuate any negative feelings.

4. Listen, and care for the response

Most likely the person will want to explain/justify or even ventilate; whatever it is, part of being diplomatic is not only how you share the information but also how you are overall inside the conversation. If you do not care about what the person replies, or if you listen but give no follow-up answer, it will frustrate the other even more.

In conclusion

Diplomacy is very important and will help you in all the communication you are involved in. Take this seriously and the result may surprise you!