A powerful leadership skill that is necessary for moving up in the legal market is diplomacy. This refers to the art of communicating with others in an assertive yet discreet and thoughtful manner. It requires taking into consideration the many cultural, economic, social, or academic differences of the person you are communicating with. For the exception of the naturally gifted, this often entails a lifelong learning process, yet the benefits of further developing this skill are paramount. Practicing the following tips to further develop your diplomatic skills can lead to improved
relationships with others and to obtain more successful outcomes in difficult or stressful conversations.
Think Before You Act
To create the right environment when communicating with someone, it’s best to choose your words and your behavior carefully. That’s right, preserving a positive body language is one of the main components of maintaining a constructive conversation. In fact, Dr. Albert Mehrabian conducted several studies in which he concluded that 55% of our everyday conversations are conveyed through nonverbal elements such as facial expressions, gesture, posture, etc. Therefore, thinking before we act is just as important as thinking before we speak. Some diplomatic mannerisms you should try practicing in your everyday conversations are:
Become an Active Listener
The best way to connect with others and create mutual respect is by seeing things from perspectives other than our own. In diplomatic conversations, it’s important to first stay focused on what the opposing party is saying, and how it’s being said. This makes it so that we can understand their side of the argument enough to be able to find a solution that is agreeable to all involved. Being a good listener also helps making good judgment of a situation. To apply this principle, you should:
Choose Your Words Carefully
Remember: It’s not what you say, it’s what people hear. Being diplomatic is not about keeping your opinions to yourself, but delivering them in an assertive yet non-aggressive word style. This will often lead to influencing your listener to become more open and positive to what you have to say. Some non-confrontational yet assertive choice of words you should keep in mind are:
Using this 3 step approach can greatly increase your professional image considering you will know how to successfully negotiate problematic situations into win-win outcomes. Are there any tips you use to get your message across in a tactful manner? We’d love to hear from you!