“With a little tact, almost anything is communicable.”
We’ve all had those moments, where we WANT to say something, but don’t quite know how to say it. Often it’s some sort of bad news, or something that the party on the receiving end will not be too happy to say. Sometimes, we just want to avoid conflict and raising an issue could trigger it. But rather than sit on it, find ways of tactfully expressing yourself.
Take a moment to pause and look at things from the receiving party’s perspective. How would they feel given what you are about to tell them? What would they say if they got defensive? What would they say if they were offended? How can you mitigate that before it happens? Taking a stroll in their shoes before approaching them is an exercise in empathy, but if you understand that party, you can find ways of BETTER delivering whatever it is you have to communicate.
Naturally, people are people, and they can be at times unpredictable (in the sense that we just can’t predict everything). So even though you were as tactful as possible, things may still take a turn for the worst. But try to be prepared for that as well, especially with your own reactions. Try to be aware of the things that could set YOU off as well so that if they come up, you are better able to handle them, instead of also flying the handle.
While we don’t always have a chance to prepare when we speak, when we do have an opportunity to do so, its not a bad idea to make the most of it. Hold on pressing “send” in that next email if you can, reread it, try to see things from the receiving end, and see if that changes how you word things.
With a little extra care, your odds of communicating successfully, and being listened to can improve dramatically.