Hehe brief post before I start my day.
Recently I’d been around many, many diplomatic people. Again, it is a very humbling experience because I don’t consider myself as diplomatic–I tend to say whatever I think, and sometimes I do use vulgarities.
I do consider being direct as efficient.
For example, if a person is acting stupid and got my interest, I’d just tell him/her directly that I think he/she is acting stupid. My logic is really simple–that’s the truth to me, and if he/she doesn’t like it, he/she can just ignore.
For one, I tend to simply ignore people I find uninteresting or predictable.
But alas, the world doesn’t work this way–even when people ask for your criticism, sometimes they don’t want your honest opinion.
It’s therefore sometimes wise to look beyond words and consider the heart and ego of a person. Namely, intention and pride.
So being around diplomatic folks taught me a lot, and I am thankful. Yet I started thinking–as a relatively direct person, why would I even want to learn to “act diplomatic” these days?
Why should I–for instance–care about your ego? I use the word “act” because I’m not used to being very diplomatic yet.
Here are some of the benefits of being diplomatic that I can think of:
- When you don’t want to reveal anything private. “Yes, the weather is nice, isn’t it?”
- When you want space to backtrack, and don’t want to make a stance. This is when circumstances are uncertain and vested interests might be at stake. “Yes, I understand this difficult situation…”
- When you want to protect the ego of others. “The situation is unfortunate, indeed.”
- When you want to drag time. Just repeat the same vague phrases in various forms without revealing new information.
- When you doubt the good intentions of the other party. Like, is the party using you to start a blog war? Are they using you as a tool to advance their insidious interests? etc. Time to be vague so that you don’t get quoted out of context.
There is an art to saying a lot, without saying anything. To me that sometimes means being diplomatic, and it’s really a good skill.
The downside to being diplomatic is probably that:
- You don’t make headlines or get attention;
- People start to doubt that you can make a stance–this might be bad for leadership;
- People might really feel that you are wasting their time, because precisely you say a lot but mean nothing. So they might feel that you don’t trust them with a piece of yourself, or think you have no stance or voice on your own.
- People might not even remember you at all! If that is not your intention, it’s bad.
Therefore, perhaps, good diplomats actually do strike a balance between taking a position and keeping things vague in their conversations. And I think that’s a very valuable skill that I want to polish.
Good diplomats are the very people who balance these two components–personal voice and being vague–so skilfully that talking to them can be a beautiful memory, because there is much to analyse on hindsight.
It’s interesting to use conversations or words as tools to advance your interests. And to be really good at that, first, you need to know what you+ the other party desire.
SO yea! I want to learn these skills and be able to eventually make conversations like that–open yet guarded, sincere yet seductive.