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Tactful communication

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Surviving a Bad Performance Review Recommended Books Recommended Links Diplomatic Communication Negative Politeness
Corporate bullshit Six ways to say 'No' and mean it Rules of Verbal Self Defense Fighting direct verbal abuse Soft propaganda Seven Typical Corporate Email Errors
Socratic Questions Five Points Verbal Response Test Dealing With Negative Criticism Minimize office gossip Never complain about your boss in office Gabor's checklist
Communication with Corporate Psychopaths Communication with Micromanagers The Art of Positive Criticism Psychopaths in Movies Humor Etc

 

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worthwhile.

-Herm

Tact is a careful consideration of the feelings and values of another so as to create harmonious relationships with a reduced potential for conflict or offense. It is acknowledgement of other person "personal space" and "non-intrusiveness" into it.  Tact is considered to be a virtue.

An example of tact would be relating to someone a potentially embarrassing detail of their appearance or demeanor without causing them distress.

Tact is a form of interpersonal diplomacy, the ability to induce change or communicate hurtful information minimizing offence through the use of consideration, compassion, kindness, and reason. Ideally, a tactful person can tell you something you don't want to hear and you feel thankful for the information,

Synonyms: considerateness, consideration, delicacy, diplomacy, discreetness, finesse, savoir-faire, thoughtfulness.

I believe tact is one of the most important elements of office relations.  The ability to speak or act without offending is necessary for attaining successful relations both in family and in office.

The broader concept is diplomacy. The key idea of diplomacy is the idea of minimization and avoidance of conflict to the extent possible. The idea of conflict prevention recognizes that conflict takes many forms. There is some conflict that is destructive, and there are situations that that are from this point of view hopeless and can never be resolved (for all practical purposes) without a conflict. We also recognize that conflict can be a good thing, that good things can come out of addressing it, and sometimes, NOT addressing it is a bad idea. 

So, we need to distinguish destructive conflict and constructive. Destructive conflict is conflict that has a low probability of being resolved, and is primarily personality or emotion driven, rather than conflict that is issue based. For example, if you and I disagree about how much you should pay me, we disagree on a single issue - pay, or one dimensional conflict.   If however you and I aren't getting along because I don't "like" you, this is a situation with many dimensions and it is more difficult to resolve as other dimensions influence our behavior in this one.  

That also means that we should avoid "escalation of the conflict" -- turning conflict over a single issue turns into emotion based conflict.  The reason is simple. As soon as there are other dimensions of the conflict especially emotion or personality based  based, the conflicts are very difficult to deal with, with a relatively low probability of resolution. It's not impossible, it's unlikely. That's why we use the term destructive conflict; because pursuing the issue makes things worse. Sometimes, one must leave the conflict as it is and make the best of it because pursuing it will make it worse.

We are always going to have issue based disagreements and conflict. Well intentioned people often disagree. But they can do it tactfully.

The idea of tactful communication is easier to understand if we look at the opposite traits. Opposite of tact is abrasiveness and rudeness.  But extreme conformism, submissiveness is also an opposite.


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[Jun 07, 2017] The Tools of Argument How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win by Joel P. Trachtman

80 reviews of Amazon.
Jun 07, 2017 | www.amazon.com

Russky

The best book for any person who wants to understand how ... , February 29, 2016

The Tools of Argument: How the Best Lawyers Think, Argue, and Win (Paperback)

The best book for any person who wants to understand how American Courts work! At times we all ask questions like "How can this criminal get off on technicalities if it is obvious that he/she committed crime?", or "How can this be fair?" or "How can a lawyer defend this "bad guy/girl"? This is totally wrong! He/she is a criminal!" The author explains the difference between law and common sense, law and ethics, understanding of crime in legal terms and in laymen words.The book closely examines the logical reasoning of the law professionals , demonstrating the "tricks" used in court rooms. Fascinating reading!!!

WARNING: the book will not prepare you to go to court and defend your case! This is not a "how-to" manual for folks who are planning to go to court. Hire a lawyer if need be.

However, if you want to learn how to present and defend your point (any point, not just legal issues) as an intelligent and convincing person, this book is for you! Chances are, by the time you are done with debating your next case, your opponents will at least respect your opinion (or hate your guts, which still might give you some satisfaction).

This book is for anyone who wants to boost up their skills in logical persuasion, finding loopholes in opponent's logical reasoning.

Lots of interesting and valuable information for a pretty small price! It is written in a short and clear format: each chapter discusses specific idea, giving examples from court cases and average daily life (parent-child, husband-wife, employee-supervisor), concluding with a practical application summary argument vs. counterargument.

So, no reason to read the entire book from beginning to end. One can just pick any chapter and read about how this or that legal (logical) rule can be applied in daily life.

[Nov 12, 2016] MC MCSE Corporate Speak Dictionary for programmers

Even if you are in a technical position, you may still find yourself dealing with sales people and other corporate types. You may also discover that they speak a different language and use an arsenal of corny phrases that might just give you the hives. This article is a glossary of our 35 favorite terms and phrases.
Aug 08, 2012 | mcmcse.com

[Nov 12, 2016] Jargon busters

Jan 01, 2005 | theage.com.au

The obscenity that's corporate jargon is my pet hate. So imagine the response to Hewlett-Packard chief Mark Hurd's spin on the company's decision to lay off 14,500 workers, or one in 10 of its employees. ''The majority of the head-count reductions will be achieved trough involuntary actions," he said in a New York Times report. It was bad enough that sacking someone morphed into ''downsizing'' and ''rightsizing''. Now they're calling it ''involuntary action''.

With his terrific anti-jargon book now hitting the American market, Paul Keating's former speech writer Don Watson has a web site asking people to send in weasel words.

[Aug 14, 2016] More Hillary bullshit

Notable quotes:
"... When GWB came out with "compassionate conservative" this was on my mind. But they had a pretty good handle on happy garbage-speak back in the early 90s too…. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com
reslez , August 12, 2016 at 7:06 pm

Francis Urquhart : [commenting on the party conference speakers] Michael Samuels – environment. "Intelligent", "sensitive", "caring" – all in the same sentence, I bet you.

Michael Samuels : …That doesn't mean a return to subsistence farming. What it does mean is sensitive exploitation of natural resources, intelligent self-interest to motivate long-term gains in a caring capitalist concept.

Francis Urquhart : Told you.

House of Cards(1990)

When GWB came out with "compassionate conservative" this was on my mind. But they had a pretty good handle on happy garbage-speak back in the early 90s too….

armchair , August 12, 2016 at 10:27 pm

25 words and phrases is not enough. Some additions.

Streamlining, takeholders, The come to Jesus talk/moment, We're going to eat a plate of dicks on this one [maybe that's just my workplace]

I'm genuinely surprised that streamlining and stakeholder didn't make it. BTW, streams are a mess and stakeholders are vampire killers.

tegnost , August 12, 2016 at 4:12 pm

"….recalibrate their primary message to appeal to aspirational voters across the middle of the political spectrum - independents, college-educated suburban moderates and a substantial slice of Republicans who can't abide Trump"

recalibrate? yeesh, who were they appealing to before now?

dems can…"offer anxious voters a hopeful counterpoint to Trump's fearful narrative - a positive plan for parlaying our country's strengths in technological innovation and entrepreneurship into stronger economic growth that works for all Americans."

Hope is not a plan. Don't you remember pulling that one on us a couple of cycles ago?

next…"But it doesn't speak to the aspirations of middle-class voters who now mostly work in offices, use digital technology to boost their productivity, and understand that their jobs depend both on keeping their skills up to date and on their companies' ability to succeed in global competition."

this describes an ever decreasing slice of the electorate, but does manage to include the word aspirations, which is kind of an airy word, an insubstantial kind of hopey thing

"however, the party's candidates can't sound like Sanders."

no, the left must be kicked.

"According to a Progressive Policy Institute survey, the swing voters who hold the balance of power in key battleground states aren't particularly angry and don't see the economy as rigged against them. They give priority to growth over fairness and are more inclined to help U.S. businesses succeed than punish them. While worried about jobs going overseas, they see trade on balance as good for America. And they don't have much confidence in the federal government, which they believe fails to reward people who work hard and play by the rules."

the traditional republican base.

"They need a plan to attack today's popular discontents at their root - by breaking our economy out of a slow-growth trap that's been holding down wages."
traditional republican thinking

"Although it's easier to blame trade or Wall Street or the 1 percent, slumping productivity growth is the real culprit behind the meager gains in wages and living standards Americans have experienced since 2000"

sure thing will, wasn't it a couple paragraphs back where you were referencing everyone's increased productivity in their office? Wages have not kept up with productivity for many years including the past 8 with a democrat pushing the same agenda you are

"major public and private investments in modern infrastructure"

oh here we go, the ka'ching

"a strong push for advanced materials and 3D printing to keep America in the vanguard of advanced manufacturing;"

um…too much there, but briefly, think of the raw materials you're going to have to have piled up in the garage to match the panoply of alloys metals plastics paper glue and all the rest of it so your 3d printer will do all the thing this offhanded comment is suggesting

"a strategy for digitizing the physical economy and accelerating the "Internet of Things";"

again, but this aspires to even greater ridiculousness

"pro-growth tax reform (including bringing business taxes down to globally competitive levels)"

republican, or really in this case globalist comparative advantage

"systematic lowering of regulatory barriers to innovation and startups"

republican, oh and look it closes with a sop to the losers, isn't that nice

"a robust system of career and technical education to equip workers without college degrees with skills and credentials valued by employers"

valued by employers, yes employers have no reason or incentive to train or keep workers, besides robots self driving trucks etc, how did this aspirationalist message leave that part out?…but this robust system can and likely will load these people up with non dischargable debt, so there's that

Short version

democrats should be more republican

Sorry for the length, but it was a gift that wouldn't stop giving…

Lambert Strether Post author ,, August 13, 2016 at 2:34 am

Yes, wasn't that splendid?

redleg , August 13, 2016 at 11:43 am

Remember that aspiration also means sucking something into your lung that's not supposed to be sucked into a lung.

I think the talk of aspiration is much closer to reality using this meaning.

[Oct 04, 2015] How Not to Be a Networking Leech Tips for Seeking Professional Advice

Sept 26, 2015 | The New York Times

Businesspeople generally think of networking as a mutually beneficial meeting for both parties. But that's not usually what it is. Far more often, it is one person asking the other for a favor.

I have been a management consultant, business owner and speaker for more than 12 years. Before that, I was a business executive and a trial lawyer. Along the way I have received invaluable advice from others - guidance that educated me and helped me make important professional connections. Because this advice has been such a great help to me, I believe in helping others in the same way, without expecting anything in return.

During the course of a year I receive numerous requests from people I do not know, asking me to network. I respond by meeting at least once a week with someone who is seeking advice on their careers or businesses, either in person or on the phone.

In the course of these meetings, I have come across people who fall under the category of what I call "networking parasites." These are people who fail to understand that I am giving them information that my regular clients pay for.

I am not alone in this. Doctors, accountants, plumbers, computer experts, lawyers and financial advisers all must deal with people shamelessly asking for meetings, free advice or free services or treatment - without remotely acknowledging that these professionals make their living selling that time and expertise. Over the years, dozens of experts have told me about being accosted at parties and on airplanes by strangers who ask for a free consultation under the guise of "conversation."

Surely you do not want to be the kind of person who antagonizes professionals in this way. So here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a networking parasite.

Margaret Morford is the owner of the HR Edge, a management consulting firm, and the author of "The Hidden Language of Business."

See More "

A collection of "Preoccupations" columns published in The New York Times.

Coping with Difficult People by Robert M. Bramson

Amazon.com
the real difficult person is inside you, March 19, 2003
Reviewer: Haseeb (Tempe, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
Most people have difficulty in dealing with certain personality types. An inability to deal effectively with others can cause very serious problems in morale, job performance and self esteem. It has been said that most problems related to losing one's job has more to do with human relations than with job performance per se. As a person who has been fired many times, I can attest to that statement. I've seen incompetent people keep their jobs, but I've seen several people (myself included) lose their jobs over inter-personal conflicts which seem silly in comparison. The more one is able to resolve and or avoid conflicts, the more successful they will be in the long run.

This book divides difficult people into seven different types namely "hostile-aggressives", "complainers", "silent and unreasponsives", "super-agreeables", "negativists", "know-it-all experts" and "indecisives". Each type of behavior is explained and real-world examples of each in action are given. The forte of the book is how it explains how to cope effectively with each type. In my dealings with others, I've found that the coping advice given is right on target. Chances are, any type of difficult person will fit into one of the aforementioned categories. If not, they will be a variation or a combination of two or more of them. The coping methods given in the book are not always easy to implement because they require a lot of practice and may require a great deal of courage. This isn't a book to just read once, the methods must be studied and practiced if you wish to benefit from it.

One of the most interesting things I've discovered when reading this book is that I have fit into some of the categories of difficult people at times. The more effectively I can learn about and fight my own difficult behavior, the easier it will be for me to deal with others who possess the same traits. Regardless of how much one knows about dealing with difficult people, it can still be a battle to implement the methods given in this book. Therefore, coping with difficult people is not about using some simple trick, it's all about confronting the difficult person within each of us.

Effective Leadership A 22 Question Leadership Test by Colleen Kettenhofen

ColleenSpeaks.com

There's a big difference between just being a team leader, and leading so that people will willingly want to follow you. The real leadership test is influence. For example, what if you were employed with a volunteer organization, and your employees' livelihoods, perks and benefits were not based on whether or not they did what you asked? Would they still do as you say? Do you think they admire, respect and trust you as a role model, mentor and team leader?

Leadership Test: Below are 22 questions to ask yourself about how you are performing as a leader. Do you demonstrate honesty, credibility and competence? You may also want to pass this leadership assessment on to your team. How well are they performing compared with other team members? Consider using this leadership test in performance reviews and for discussions in meetings.

  1. As a team leader, how do I show that I am honest? Do I do what I say I am going to do?
  2. Do I make competence, character and credibility priorities? How?
  3. Do I listen effectively to others with an open mind even when I may disagree?
  4. How do I demonstrate honest yet tactful communication with team members?
  5. Do I demonstrate good people skills, or effective leadership skills with my team?
  6. How am I thoughtful and considerate of others in the department?
  7. How do I demonstrate my vision and the organization's vision in a way that others clearly can understand?
  8. Do employees see how this vision applies to them and to the big picture?
  9. Do I understand my own goals and how they tie in with organizational goals?
  10. Are the company goals and my individual goals specific, measurable and in writing?
  11. How do I take responsibility for my own job?
  12. Am I proactive in taking on or looking for additional responsibility?
  13. How do I tactfully suggest better ways of doing things?
  14. How do I offer ideas for improvement without putting others on the defensive?
  15. Do I show up on time for work and begin work immediately in a way that contributes to the team?
  16. Am I alert and "mentally" present for work?
  17. How do I work to promote better morale with my team and other departments?
  18. How would I grade the overall quality of my work?
  19. Do I complete assignments on time and without being negative?
  20. How do I put forth my best in producing a product or service in which others can take pride?
  21. Have I received leadership training in the area of conflict resolution?
  22. Am I open to leadership training in the areas of personal and professional development? If I've received this type of training, am I applying the skills learned?

Go back and reread the first five questions of this leadership test. As a team leader or manager, how are you demonstrating character, honesty, and credibility? I've found that in conducting leadership training worldwide, these are key characteristics employees want to see for them to willingly WANT to follow their leader. Were you able to answer "yes" to most of the questions? How would other team leaders in your organization score?

Remember, if people know they can trust you, they'll follow you.

"Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy." General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

Thriving practices can often attribute their success to positive work relationships.

When members of a practice trust one another, everyone can perform his or her job more efficiently and effectively.

Practices that value diversity and mindfulness are open to new ideas and appreciate people from various backgrounds.

Each member of a practice should model these characteristics to encourage their systemic development.

Practices should also hold meetings for discussion and reflection to promote understanding and action.

We have observed seven interdependent characteristics of work relationships in successful practices. (To assess your practice's performance in these areas, use the tool below.)

How to get there

Fostering these characteristics of positive work relationships in your practice is not the responsibility of a single person, such as your practice manager. While leadership can play an important role, each member of a practice should be expected to lead by example. Modeling desired behavior is one of the most effective ways to encourage the systemic development of these relationship characteristics.

For example, physicians should treat staff with respect and recognize how their actions affect the rest of the practice. They should make an effort to communicate messages effectively and encourage both social and task-related relationships by being social themselves.

Work relationship assessment form

Plot your practice's performance in these seven critical areas on the continuum below. You may want your colleagues and staff to assess your practice as well, then compare and discuss your ratings. This form can be downloaded as a PDF.

Characteristic

What does it look like?

Where is your practice on this continuum?

Trust

• Seeking input from others.

• Allowing others to complete their work without unnecessary oversight.

• Feeling comfortable discussing successes and failures.



| Always | | Sometimes | | Never |


Diversity

• Including people who have different backgrounds or perspectives.

• Encouraging those who think differently about important issues to share their opinions.



| Always | | Sometimes | | Never |


Mindfulness

• Being open to new ideas.

• Talking freely about what is and isn't working in the practice.

• Adjusting routines in response to current situations; not running on autopilot.



| Always | | Sometimes | | Never |


Interrelatedness

• Being attentive to current tasks as well as larger goals.

• Being aware of individual roles and how they affect other functions and people in the practice.



| Always | | Sometimes | | Never |


Respect

• Being considerate, honest and tactful.

• Valuing others' opinions.



| Always | | Sometimes | | Never |


Varied interaction

• Understanding the importance of both social and task-related relationships.

• Encouraging people to pursue activities outside of work.



| Always | | Sometimes | | Never |


Effective communication

• Understanding when certain methods of communication are more appropriate and timely than others.

• Using "rich communication" (e.g., face-to-face meetings) for more sensitive matters.

• Using "lean communication" (e.g., memos) for routine matters.



| Always | | Sometimes | | Never |



Practices also should allow time to meet and discuss important issues. Practices that meet often provide the opportunity for group interaction and reflection, which results in learning, increased understanding and appropriate action.

Finally, practices should pay close attention to other factors that can influence the quality of their work relationships, such as the hierarchical nature of the staff or the physical layout and organization of the practice. Anything that could potentially hinder the creation of successful work relationships should be examined.

Trust, diversity, mindfulness, interrelatedness, respect, varied interaction and effective communication may seem like simple concepts, but they are critical. When these characteristics are modeled, developed and nurtured, the practice has a better chance of operating successfully.

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