Some think I have a tendency to be “curt” or “too direct” in my communication.
Of that group, there are those who appreciate it, and there are those who urge me to “soften what I say.” I believe I am diplomatic, and I know I am most certainly aware of the feelings of the person to whom I’m speaking; foremost in my thoughts being, “How would I want someone to say this to me?”
But — especially in matters of high import — the way in which we construct what we say is essential. Tying oneself into a verbal and linguistic Gordian knot to avoid taking responsibility for what is truly meant so dilutes the message that the recipient is unsure what was being said from the get go. (Example: Have you ever listened to a politician answer a direct question? It can be painful.) This type of tête-à-tête serves no one, exacerbating the issue. Direct interaction — delivered in a thoughtful, sensitive fashion — is not rude; it shows respect to the recipient, while causing the deliverer to be more precise in which words he or she chooses, lowering the possibility of conflict.
With that as my bias, let me hoist my High Crankiness upon my soapbox yet again.
If you ever have to tell someone something you think they need to do differently, or something you don’t like about what they do, raise your hand prior to opening your mouth and take with me this pledge:
“I refuse to say anything like ‘Everyone thinks you need to do this,’ or ‘All your co-workers are concerned,’ or ‘Some people say…’”
Hiding behind “everyone else” or “what others say” is — frankly — just plain cowardly. [Read more…]