Tact

If you’ve been reading for a while, you’ll know that I read the same publications, monthly. These have changed over the years, but I remain loyal to those I find most intriguing, informational or entertaining. Leisure time for reading is at an all time low for me. These magazines are now stacked in my bathroom. In fact, my potty trained daughter loves to read InStyle in there (she is scary good at predicting what’s in fashion).
This month’s Real Simple just came. I love this magazine. It always has thought provoking articles, useful tips, wonderful (and simple) recipes, and a hint of fashion. This month, there is a one page article that offers expertise from five individuals on how to tactfully speak your mind. I’ve been accused of being less than tactful at times. Aren’t we all? Hasn’t there been a moment you wish you could rewind and do over because you didn’t express yourself in the best way? I can identify.
Three of the five pieces of advice on this topic spoke to me. The first: to remain calm. Hysteria creeps up and takes away any power your voice may have. Guilty. The second (by Madeline Albright): not to wait. If you let the moment pass to express your opinion on a topic of conversation, everyone will move on and your talking point will no longer be “germane” (her word, I had to look it up and now I love it). How many times have I thought of the perfect thing to say only to have it be too late to make any sense? The last (by Katie Couric): be concise. Now here’s where I am really subpar. For as long as I can remember whenever I have started to tell a story, one or both of my brothers look at their watch and say “ok everyone, get comfortable, this is going to take a while”. It’s been a challenge for me to keep these blog posts short but I’m making a concerted effort to be concise.
To prove the point, I think about all of the professors who I learned the most from and the doctors I’ve met with recently who have made me feel most at ease and secure in their abilities. They have been concise, calm, empathetic (another piece of advice in the article) and addressed all of my questions in a timely way. I will try to keep this wisdom in my mind as I explain information to my current audience. At 9 months old or 3 years old this advice is just as appropriate. It doesn’t only apply to interactions with adults. Every point is perfectly apropos in my latest job function as it was when I was a paid engineer.

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