Sunday, November 18, 2012
Disclaimer: I did not author this article. The link follows.
The Tactful Approach
The dictionary defines tact as,`the ability to deal with others without offending them'. When it comes to dealing with people, the best approach is always the tactful approach.
For example, let's say you're going to a party and your spouse isn't wearing what you were originally envisioning he'd wear. Would you say (with a tone in your voice), `That's not what you're going to wear tonight to the party, is it?!'
That generally wouldn't go over well. A more tactful approach may be, `I'm so excited about the party tonight. I've been looking forward to it all day! You know, why don't you wear the brown sweater, you always look great in it and it will match the skirt I'm wearing.'
I've found that type of an approach gets a much better response, versus a more bossy or sarcastic approach.
So, how do we develop tact?
First, always focus on the positive aspects of any situation and start your conversation by expressing the positives. For instance, `I like that you are developing new ideas. It's something our organization needs. Let's try to combine some of your ideas with some of these.'
Second, learn to appreciate the `gray areas'. Often, people see something as right or wrong, OR black and white. To be tactful means to realize there are a number of ways to accomplish things, AND there are other viewpoints to consider, not just our own. This is known as the `gray area'.
Third, learn to read people's facial expressions. You can tell from the expression on someone's face if your message is being ill-received. Should this be the case, try to get yourself out of it as quickly as possible by using positive statements, or apologize if necessary.
All in all, people don't like to be bossed around. A good rule of thumb is to treat others as you like to be treated.