Published: 28th February 2017
Nobody will call you rude now- learning the art of diplomacy and politeness
These days, social media enables everybody to speak their mind without thinking the consequences. In such a time, diplomacy and politeness are skills a lot of people badly need
Social media tools such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have given enormous freedom to people to comment on anyone and on anything. As a result, many resort to social media to express their joy and happiness, and give vent to their anger and frustration. Most of the comments on Facebook are raw and used without much consideration. To post a comment on social media in a language that is not offensive is an art. To disagree with someone politely is a skill that one should master.
Effective communicators know how to express their ideas politely and diplomatically, that is in a humane, sensitive and tactful manner. With their right choice of words and correct tone, they are able to impress others when they talk to them. While speaking to someone, being too direct is not good because we may come across as aggressive and the outcome of our negotiation or communication may not be productive. How can one be polite and diplomatic? In many ways we can learn to be polite and win the hearts of people.
Some of the earliest known diplomatic records are the Amarna letters written between the pharaohs of the Eighteenth dynasty of Egypt and the Amurru rulers of Canaan during the 14th century BC
Be a critical reader: Before commenting on any post on social media, read the post thoughtfully, understand what the author intends to communicate and try to understand what his/her purpose is. Analyse the post objectively. Your focus should be on the message and not on the messenger.
Use non-direct expressions: If you want to disagree with the person, don’t be too direct. Instead of writing, “I disagree with you” or “I totally disagree with you,” you can use the following expressions:
- I understand what you mean, but… - Though what you say seems to be true, I beg to differ with you because…
- It seems to me that…
Use positive language: There are many words and phrases which are considered negative in the English language and when you use such terms in your posts you can be labelled negatively. For example, when you tell someone, “It is a bad idea. No one will appreciate it,” the person will react to your comment negatively. Use positive words and expressions. Instead of saying, “You are biased” or “You don’t look at things objectively,” you can say:
- It will be great if you can ...
- I think it will be good if we can…
- Can we please look at it differently?
Avoid using ‘you’ and finger-pointing: Instead of saying “You didn’t understand my point” or “You need to explain it,” we can say:
- I think I haven’t made myself clear. Let me…
- I didn’t understand what you said. Can you…?
Be aware of words with connotative meanings: Words such as blind, retarded, skinny, and nosy have negative connotations. Instead, use the terms visually impaired, youthful, and slim.
Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.
– Mario Puzo, The Godfather