Don’t Be Rude: Be Direct
We’ve all met people who are unaware of the impact of their communication on others. Rude people who don’t know the right time or place to air their thoughts to a person about an issue they are having.
My guess is that they aren’t being rude on purpose and that they don’t mean to offend those around them. They are just unaware of the impact of their communication. Self-centred, they may be, but they don’t mean anything by it.
Over the years I have learned to be direct with people, even when this may upset them and potentially ruin our relationship.What I think I have now learned to do is this:
It isn’t enough to know that you care about the person. You must demonstrate that you care, understand and know what it is to be them. Right now, in this moment. You do this by pacing their need to be heard, so listen to what they are saying and repeat back to them your understanding so that you clarify and demonstrate that you have listened and understood.
Pick The Right Moment
Moments are funny, aren’t they? Some just rip by quickly and others pass us by slowly. Make sure you pick the right moment for them, before you give up your thoughts on the subject. Pick the wrong moment and you are heading for conflict.
Frame Your Intentions
We forget that people have a choice. They can choose not to like your advice. They can also frame your words anyway they wish, positively or negatively. Frame your intentions for them in a positive way. Tell them the best reasons for your feedback so they can frame your words in a more pleasant way, thus they will more likely receive your words with grace.
It took me many years to learn this one! Being soft with people takes time to find the right words. Being gentle means softening your speech tone and pace to reflect your softness. People need time to come to terms with your meaning. Your job is to give them time and space to come to terms with any change required.
Be firm on the issue at hand. Being assertive means that you should speak up and speak out for your rights on an issue. Don’t say sorry. Be steadfast on the issue and be clear about your feelings on the subject. Keeping a balance between your needs and the needs of others is a key skill, hard to navigate and get right every time.
All of the above takes time, thought and skill. None of this is easy. Practice at every opportunity would be my best advice, so that you will be better prepared when the important occasions arise with people you care about.