How to get your point across without being rude
In a work environment opinions and statements can sometimes come
out sounding a bit harsh or rude without it meaning to. This is especially true
in multi-cultural environments when the more direct approach of some cultures
can be misinterpreted. To ensure that you are making your point, without
offending your audience, colleagues or partners, here are five hints on how to
get your point across without being rude.
Hint no.1: Collect more information before making a statement
Get the full story before jumping to a conclusion. Asking a
question opens up the possibility to gain additional understanding about a topic
or an idea and decreases the likelihood that you will be perceived negatively. Consider
the following options to show that you might disagree with an idea: "This
will never work!" vs. "I don't have enough information yet see how it will help
to improve the situation. "Can you tell me more about what you are proposing?".
Hint no.2: Don't make assumptions
Very often our personal filters make us hear something very
different from what is actually being said, and surely different from what the
speaker might have been intended to say. Clarify, as quickly as possible, if you think you might have made an
assumption, and avoid tainting the interaction with a misconception made early
on. If you don't think you have made any assumptions, you've just made a big
no.3: Keep the focus on the goal and intention
Creating common ground on which to share your perspective helps maintain
everyone's understanding without hitting hot buttons as quickly or ferociously.
Consider the following examples: "I have high standards, this is not how I
work" vs. "I am concerned about this method of work which might frustrate our
clients, so I would like to propose another way that leads to the same goal".
Hint no.4: Put yourself
in the other person's shoes
Very often we find ourselves in conversations that lead nowhere, or are
not as productive as they could be, because participants are too busy trying to
convince each other that their point of view is the right one. Spending some
time inquiring into another's position, and sharing how you have arrived at
your own, is important in reaching common ground. Keep in mind that your truth
isn't the only one (and may not even be right) helps to retain your humility as
you enter into a discussion with others.
Hint no.5: Set the
Express your desire to be direct without being rude by telling your
audience what to expect. Always be polite in how you tell them. Consider the
following example: "I am going to say exactly what I think and feel" vs.
"Before getting started, I would like you to know that I am going to be quite
direct, are you comfortable with this?" However, don't use this statement as an
excuse to start shooting off your mouth about anything.