Monday, September 2, 2013

Learning to be Diplomatic Over and Over...and Over Again!

Just re-read my post from a year and a half ago about how you have to keep on learning new ways to make change happen - learning that what you think is diplomacy or being clear about what you are saying, may not be good enough...

Once again I find myself in the thick of trying to be diplomatic AND make a very important concern and challenge clear to the persons I (and others) are criticising for something said. It has been a learning experience!! Once again learning that when you are talking to people who 'speak your language', what you're saying is often easily understood....but that sure doesn't mean that others will get your point - especially if you happen to be criticising them - everyone gets a bit sensitive when they're criticised - me included.

So what have I learnt this time round - well, here are 10 Things, plus 1 extra for good measure

1) Assume people will not get 100% of what you're saying - you're not as easily understandable as you think you are!

2) Go back over, and over again to remove any potentially inflammatory parts if you're writing - if understanding is what you seek, inflaming the situation will not take you that route, it will cause useless anger and distress

3) If you are faced with the other party spewing out inflammatory stuff...step back and decide if you can respond in a way that will calm and be productive - are there issues in that tirade that you need to address? If not, walk away...if there are, then breathe first and try to respond calmly

4) Your 'private' wall on Facebook is not really private - once you are a public figure, your wall is a representation of you even if you restrict who can see it - especially in a small community like Saint Lucia where everyone knows you...you are never separate from your professional self, so what you say there 'in private' you actually say very publicly - be open to the responses

5) Assume people will not get 100% of what you're saying - yes, again. Be prepared to find a different way to explain

6) Find a different way to LISTEN - recognize the other party isn't 'speaking your language' and see if you can hear without your own preconceptions...can you

7) Give the benefit of the doubt and interpret what was said as not meaning to be as damaging as it seemed.

8) What's your aim? To be right or to improve a situation? Get off your own high horse before you ask anyone else to

9) Know that some people are not ready to be wrong - leave them be; don't dismiss them as unimportant - as I recently was reminded - everyone is your customer...potentially... and everyone is certainly your PR person...potentially but if you piss them off, the PR they'll be doing is 100% bad, bad, bad ...as in this recent discussion involved a PR Professional (who shall remain nameless for their protection) but who now has secured theirself about 10 persons who went from discussing using their services to advance our own offerings, to now probably serving as bad publicity for the PR Pro...all because the PR Pro was only able to dish criticism and not take the same in return and dissolved into a viscous rant involving demanding we 'pull up our panties' ... it'd be funny if it wasn't so bad. I still hope bridges will be mended with understanding at some point, but hey, y'all already know I am Utopian ... I am unapologetic for this character trait.

10) Shut up...know that you always will have to keep trying to listen differently - that new way you found in step 6) is already getting old -it's an ongoing, ongoing process...don't I know it! So quiet down, breathe and listen again...

One extra) Be kind - to the other party as well as yourself - that doesn't mean you have to lie down and be a doormat or hide your true feelings - that would be counterproductive and dishonest - be honest but seek to do the least damage and achieve the most positive outcome possible - for all.

K, finished being preachy now (note - I am always preaching to myself in these blogs as well as to you the reader :) Now, let me see if I can live up to these suggestions!

Thanks for reading - it helps me know if I'm on the right track when I get your feedback, so do feel free to drop a note about how you see all this kinda thing!

Last year's post - here if you'd like to read

Sometimes you have to look East to see the beauty of a Sunset