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View Full Version : How to get your point across without being rude

02-02-2014, 06:53 AM
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 multicultural 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 one!

Hint 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 stage
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.


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08-04-2014, 03:29 PM
Being Heard: 6 Strategies for Getting Your Point Across

by Judy Ringer

We all want to be heard. It's gratifying, empowering, and makes us feel valued. And in a difference of opinion, we want our side to be represented. We want others to get who we are and to hear our valid arguments, even if they don't agree with us--though, of course, we'd like that as well.
What we may not realize is that the best way to get our point across is often counter-intuitive. To be successful we have to try less and listen more.

Understanding as a Goal

Have you ever dined in a restaurant that has a swinging door in and out of the kitchen? Ever pushed (or watched someone push) on that door when another body is trying to get through from the other direction? What happens? You push, they push, and nobody gets through.

The same push-pushback phenomenon occurs when two people want to get their differing viewpoints across at the same time. It usually sounds something like: "Yes, but you're wrong because ..." or "No, you weren't listening. What I'm trying to say is ..." and so on. If you want to get through to the other side and they're not creating an opening, you either let them talk first or push hard enough to get them to hear you. If we extend the metaphor, they're probably not listening. The more you force, the more they resist.

When you push for your way, you virtually guarantee failure, because the harder you try to persuade, the harder the opposition will do the same. He wants to be heard, too--just like you.

If you want to get your point across, don't make getting your point across the goal. Make understanding the goal. When you try to understand your conflict partner's view, you create an opening for him to do the same. The door swings toward you as you receive his energy, beliefs, and vision, and benefit from a peek at an alternate reality. You're able to see both views simultaneously while you reflect on how differently this person perceives the world from his side of the door.

Giving Way to Get Your Way
Don't give in; give way. There's a difference. Giving someone the freedom to deliver his message is a gift and a model. You're not saying you agree with the message; you're saying you're willing to entertain an alternative view to facilitate solving the problem.
Sensing a receptive audience, the speaker relaxes. His energy and ideas have an outlet. His need for you to understand him is less critical than your willingness to try.
Psychologists have found that we are each more interested in knowing that the other person is trying to empathize with us ... than we are in believing that they have actually accomplished that goal. Good listening ... is profoundly communicative. And struggling to understand communicates the most positive message of all.
--Difficult Conversations, Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen
Eventually he has nothing left to say, and now he is opening the door for you. In fact, he's eager to hear your reflections. He's thinking, "Wow, I just made some great points. I can't wait to hear what she has to say about them!"

Offer Information That May Be of Value

So don't start with, "You are really out of line, you don't know what you're talking about," or "your reasoning is full of holes!"
If you want to get your point across, start by acknowledging his argument and appreciating his position. Specifically:

  • Summarize his thoughts for him.
  • Compliment his reasoning.
  • Speak first to his positive intentions.
  • Look for one thing you can agree with.

For example: "John, you've obviously put a lot of thought into this and care a great deal about the outcome. I liked what you said about ... " You must be sincere. We're not talking about manipulation but rather a willingness to step into another human being's shoes.

By listening and acknowledging, you've let your partner come through the door, and it's starting to swing in the other direction. Here's the place where you might get your point across. But one more admonition: change your thinking from getting your point across to offering information that might be of value to him. He may take advantage and he may not. He's more likely to receive your offer favorably if it helps him achieve his goals, look good, or save face.

For example, "John, from what you're saying, you believe you're doing a good job and living up to the requirements of the job description. I have a slightly different take on it. Would you like to hear it? As I see it, you put a lot of thought into preparing our meetings and organizing staff, and I think you want to do a good job. I have some ideas about how you can go further in your career, if you choose to, by making a few simple changes." The door is swinging back. It's your turn to walk purposefully through it.

Do You Want to Win or Solve the Problem?
In the end, you may find that "getting your point across" is language that presumes a contest of wills and that there are more efficient ways to achieve your objective. You are less likely to create defensiveness in the listener when you disclose your thinking, acknowledge his, maintain respect and safety, and establish consequences.
Keep in mind there's a problem on the table to be solved. He's offered his view. And now you will present yours. As you do this, keep the door open. The following steps will help you.

Six Steps for Creating A Willing Listener:

  • Understand Your Story and Their Story. Rashomon is a 1950 Japanese movie involving four people, each of whom tells a story about how a specific event unfolded. Each story is a little movie that looks completely different from the others. Rashomon reminds me that my story may vary widely from my partner's, even when we're looking at the same facts. It helps me exercise caution about how much I think I know about someone else's motives. I try not to presume. How could I? It's not my movie. My goal is to see his movie through his lens.

  • Educate, don't sell, blame, or accuse. When it's time to tell my story, I have to teach the listener what things look like from my perspective. I don't assume he can see my movie either; in fact, I know he can't. When an employee, student, or loved one acts contrary to expectations, I respectfully describe the feelings that ensued or the resulting impact on the environment or on our relationship. I assume the person has positive intent, and I try to help him to live up to that assumption. For example, "I think you were trying to help the customer as best you could, given the complexity of the request. However, from my experience, when I put the customer on hold for more than a minute, he usually becomes frustrated and hangs up. Let's talk about how to get answers without putting the customer on hold."

  • Communicate your hopes and goals. If I'm disappointed, it helps to let others in on my hopes (for the relationship, the workplace, or the task at hand). For example, "When you said you would have the spreadsheet ready Tuesday, I took you at your word. My hope is that we all recognize the importance of deadlines on a project that's as time sensitive as this one. Can you tell me what happened and what we can do to remedy the situation?"

  • Stay interested. Remain curious and childlike. Look at each situation with new eyes. Don't forget that everything you experience is filtered through your perception, your lens. As Stephen Covey says, "Seek first to understand."

  • Center yourself and extend positive energy. I practice and teach the martial art Aikido, often translated from the Japanese as "the way of blending with energy." In aikido, as the attack comes I center and extend ki (life energy) to meet the attacker, align with him, and redirect his energy. I lead without force. In life and business, you do the same when your language and manner are poised and focused, when you exercise both power and compassion, and when you make your adversary a partner by honoring his energy and positive intent.

  • There are no guarantees. What if you've tried to find a creative solution and the situation doesn't improve? For example, after several conversations and promises to improve, a direct report continues to be disrespectful. Or after your numerous requests to be prompt, an important member of the team continues to show up late or not at all. Did I mention there are no guarantees? You may not get your point across, ever. You can, however, remain respectful, interested, and purposeful. In the final analysis, this is where your power lies. You can also employ your company's performance management system as early in the process as possible and hold your staff accountable to its guidelines. At this stage, the point you want to get across changes. You are no longer asking for behavior change. Instead you're making sure the employee understands the consequences of the road he is traveling.

At home, if getting your point across with your teenager means gaining agreement, you will almost never succeed. However, you can set limits and expectations. For example, "I hear you when you say that your friends can stay out until midnight. Nevertheless, you have to be home by 11:00."

"But, Mom! ..."

"I realize this seems hard to you. But I expect you to be home by 11:00."

Establishing limits and consequences is usually a more practical and effective way to be heard than attempting to gain agreement.

In any case, remember that winning a contest and solving a problem are usually two different things. When you find yourself pushing through that metaphorical door, stop and ask yourself whether it's the winning or the solving you're more interested in.


08-04-2014, 07:40 PM
In many cases the best way to get your point across is to quote Islamic evidence in support of what you are saying.

08-04-2014, 08:31 PM
format_quote Originally Posted by Ummshareef
In many cases the best way to get your point across is to quote Islamic evidence in support of what you are saying.
But this will only works while you are in conversation with Muslims.

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06-01-2015, 06:54 PM
A Simple Way to Get Any Point Across

Goldilocks would have a field day with my 11-year-old twins. Their chairs, their beds, and their oatmeal are just right, but their communication styles can be extreme. My daughter Sophie tends to be very straightforward and direct, employing a miser’s economy of words. “How was your day?” is answered with “Fine”—full stop. If I want more, I’m going to have to work for it. Her brother, Jacob, is as generous with his words as his grandmother is with hugs for him. “How was your day?” is answered with “It was great! Do you want to know what happened? Well, first, we had a fire drill and everyone got soaked in the rain. And then do you know what happened? We had a math quiz and nobody was prepared. And then . . .” Bottom line: Jacob lives to talk, and Sophie talks to live. They are two classic types in the making, what I call the plain talker, who gives you the bare minimum of information, and the protracted talker, who doesn’t always know when to stop.

Chances are you’ve met those types yourself, and maybe you are one of them. No matter which you may be, or even if you tend to talk just right, you may benefit from a tried and true formula for communication success: The P.R.E.P. Method. In this four-step process, you get to figure out where you tend to go long, where you fall short, how to organize your ideas, how to make a complete case, and how to keep from getting lost in your thoughts. As long as you remember which letter you’re up to (there are only four), you’ll always know what’s supposed to come next.

P: Point
Make your point. Make it clear, clean, and concise. It can include a point of view—brief doesn’t have to mean neutral. Keep your point to one sentence, or two at most. If you’re a plain talker, you’re probably used to ending here, so stay tuned. If you’re a protracted talker, you’re likely worried that this won’t be enough. Don’t worry: there’s more to come.

Example: Coaching is a worthwhile investment for managers.

R: Reason
Justify your point. While plain talkers may think this is the beginning of overkill (“Shouldn’t my point be enough? You need a reason, too?”), protracted talkers often start abusing their communication privileges here (“You want reasons? Here are 32!”). I think one robust reason is excellent, two solid reasons are good, and three are the maximum. After that you start to lose your listener, your ground, and your train of thought.

Example: Coaching is a worthwhile investment for managers because it offers them an objective perspective, and a resource for ongoing skill development, and helps hold them accountable.

E: Example (or Evidence, or Experience)
Back up your point. Bring it to life, and bring your life to it. For plain talkers, telling personal stories can be a challenge. They can feel like filler or fluff. But this is what illustrates the point and the reason. This is what brings them to life for the listener. I invite you to try it (you just might like it), and I also invite you to use statistics, if they make you more comfortable, or external examples. For protracted talkers, you can feel restricted sticking to one concrete example or one piece of evidence or one personal experience per reason. Do it anyway. If you leave the listener wanting more, you’ll get your chance to tell additional stories later.

Example: When I first became a manager, I wasn’t sure how to effectively make the transition from peer to boss. Luckily I began working with a coach who helped me objectively identify what the obstacles were to making a smooth transition and what opportunities I needed to take advantage of to establish myself in my new role.
My coach also helped me see that while my technical skills were excellent, I needed to work on my communication and feedback skills to be a more effective manager. As I grew into my role, my coach pointed out new areas of skill development that I needed to master to grow myself and the department.
Finally, my coach was my accountability partner and supported me in reaching my ongoing development goals in an effective and efficient manner. She was, and continues to be, a critical partner in my success.

P: Point
Restate your point. Plain talkers, take note: The law of recency tells us that people remember best what they hear last, so this isn’t just gratuitous blather. Protracted talkers, heed this: This is your opportunity to end succinctly and with finality. Either way, it’s a gift to your listeners to be reminded of what you said, what you meant, and that it’s finally their turn to talk.

Example: And that’s why I believe that coaching is a worthwhile investment for managers.

Whether you live to speak or speak to live, following the P.R.E.P. method can help you prep-are for conversations that aren’t too hard and aren’t too soft but are just right.


06-01-2015, 08:14 PM
I shout a lot (joke)

06-01-2015, 09:13 PM
Very good points!

Communication is of course the best way to move forward from a disagreement.

However, not all human beings like to talk, so you have to take the individual's character/personality into consideration and maybe, go off body language, tone of voice or the words they use to understand the individual's mood or state of mind.

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