Tact is the ability to keep your point across assertively without being inconsiderate of people’s feelings and reactions, especially when the said point can come off as rude. It enables you to give a difficult feedback and convey sensitive information. Tactful speech can be very helpful, especially in preserving relationships.
Tact involves emotional intelligence, being self-aware as well as socially aware, thoughtfulness, honesty, courtesy and diplomacy.
The ability to apply tact in your speech can provide added benefits to the speaker, in personal as well as professional settings. When a person communicates tactfully, they are able to build credibility and are often perceived as being very polite and honest individuals.
Having a tactful communication skill is usually based on good judgment and a clear understanding of others’ emotions. It is not always easy to be mindful about others, especially while stating some critical thought. If not done right, it can create misunderstandings and even spoil relationships. The best outcome of tact is development of mutual trust and respect.
Every setting is unique and requires dealing with it differently. Though it may come off as a tedious job, people can still inhabit tact and diplomacy if they follow certain practices:
Being attentive to what others are saying and how they are saying will help you understand the tone of the conversation as well as the emotions of the person saying it. When you will hear and analyze the points stated by the said person, you will be able to respond to them better in a coherent manner.
Emotional intelligence and an empathetic nature will lead you to have a better understanding of your emotions as well as others. Additionally, qualities such as compassion and politeness can be used in avoiding an argument.
Assertiveness: The main reason behind using tact is to be assertive without sounding condescending or rude. It is often used to be influential. Being polite shouldn’t negate one’s ability to be assertive.
The key is to understand what is the appropriate behavior in a conversation. Sometimes it is best to withhold your opinions and sometimes it may be necessary to keep a direct stance. Your motive behind a conversation should not be the one where you just want to prove yourself right and the others wrong to such an extent that you may make others’ points feel invalidated. The end of any conversation should be one where all the individuals involved feel represented and respected.
Having great communication skills help you to get out of difficult situations and you end up with a win-win situation. This may not be easy for all but is certainly attainable with practice just like any other skill.