How To Be More Diplomatic In Your Personal Life

A Diplomat is “verbal smoothness” personified. Accompanied by his document translator, foreign office employees and legal assistants, he can tell you to go to heck and have you thanking him for it. Do you want to possess the same kind of diplomatic power? If so, read on.

Right from childhood we are taught the virtues of being honest and truthful, and there is no doubt that honesty and truthfulness among the most desirable qualities in human relationships, be it at home or at workplace. In the same vein, diplomacy is usually associated with lying, dishonesty and fakeness. Though there may be just a thin dividing line between diplomacy and dishonesty, there is no reason why being tactful and diplomatic in personal life should be looked down upon as a sin. If used the right way, intelligently and thoughtfully, diplomacy can prove to be a very helpful life skill in taking control of your interpersonal relationships in the family as well as at workplace.

cooperationWhy Be Diplomatic?

Why not? If truth can be told diplomatically, which means tactfully and politely considering the sensibilities of others, why should one be brutally honest, hurt others’ feelings and ruin relations? If a sugar-coated pill is easier to take than an uncoated bitter pill and delivers the same benefits, then there’s nothing wrong with it. However, diplomatic skills do not come naturally to most people and need to be learned.

How To Be Diplomatic:

Here are a few tips on how to be positively diplomatic in personal life and achieve your goals without hurting others or stepping on their toes:

  1. Hone in your communication skills. Effective communication is the first step to learning diplomatic skills. Choose and weigh your words carefully, and think before speaking up. Use simple yet effectual language.
  2. Evaluate the situation objectively. Imagine the effect your words or action may have on the other person and the consequences thereof by putting yourself in his/her shoes. In other words, take that extra minute to evaluate the situation intelligently before speaking up or taking any action. Initially, it may take some effort to do that, and may even seem impossible in some situations, but gradually you will learn. Eventually, with practice, diplomacy will start coming naturally to you.
  3. Avoid being confrontational. Sometimes you may need to show your assertiveness in order to be heard or to put your point across. Do so without being overly aggressive and provocative. For example, say a polite but firm ‘No’, instead of saying ‘No way!’. Similarly, lend an ear to others and try to understand their point of view too, though not necessarily agreeing with them. Suggest a break if the situation becomes too hot to handle.
  4. Mind your body language. Pay as much attention to your body language as to your words. Aggressive body language, not matching your words, can defeat your purpose. Of course, it doesn’t mean you have to keep a smile pasted on your face all the time. Too much of smiling and overfriendliness will make you look fake and inauthentic. Just be relaxed and maintain a neutral body language, eye contact, and a calm tone of voice.

If practiced intelligently, diplomacy can bring a whole lot of benefits to your life. It helps you win friends and maintain healthy interpersonal relations both at home and at workplace. It helps settle disputes in an amicable manner and avoid making foes. Just be careful about not going overboard in diplomacy or it may make you look fake or hypocritical.

Paul J. Kilby of East Waterford, PA is a businessman who deals with foreign customers. He makes it a point to learn foreign languages and seeks the help of when in need of translations of official documents.

Images: stone stack, cooperation

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