Saturday, September 29, 2012

Speak Like A Diplomat - It's Great For Business And For Life, In General.

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Speaking like a diplomat is the key to unlock the door to communicating with virtually anyone. Diplomatic speech requires empathy, patience, and careful word choices. Speaking like a diplomat instead of a "typical" person is similar to the difference between being a statesman and being a mere politician.

Let me provide you with an example, and you (undoubtedly an intelligent reader of The Sending Signals Blog) can generalize or extrapolate from this one illustration. I have great faith in you.

If someone says something which you strongly disagree with, but you wish to continue the conversation and the relationship, both of which are important:

1) The lout would say, "That's ridiculous! You don't know what you're talking about!"

2) The slightly better-schooled person might say, "I just don't see how you could feel that way." [This is a bit kinder, but not quite diplomatic speech]

3) The DIPLOMAT would say, "That's an interesting point of view, and I can see how very strongly you feel about it. Would you care to elaborate? I'd like for you to tell me more."

The diplomatic keys are:

1) Never to tell the other person that you think he or she is wrong, or ill-informed;

2) To be interested in learning more about his or her point of view;

3) To give your conversational companion a chance to elaborate and to speak further. Invite your companion to speak at greater length, and make it obvious that you are a willing audience, eager to learn more from this "incidental teacher."

This particular approach gratifies your companion's ego; shows respect for your companion's point of view; and it puts him or her in a professorial role, opening the door for continued conversation, and an opportunity for further and deeper engagement. If you're a real pro, you can slowly and subtly bring your companion around your point of view and have him or her think that he or she has simply re-evaluated his or her position and changed his or her viewpoint.

And ironically, of course, the more you merely steer your companion's speech with questions instead of opposing opinions, the more delightful a conversationalist your companion will think that you are. Add some continuous eye-contact and occasional head nodding, and your companion will think that you're a genius!

Try it. You'll very possibly want to make it a habit.

Douglas E. Castle

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