Whenever I used to coach on public speaking and advise on subjects related to communications especially in conjunction with leadership and personal leadership in particular, there was one point that I kept emphasizing more and more: It’s to the way you talk, and the words that you use to talk to the person.
No matter how much you think you and another person or a group of individuals have in common and are coming from the same – almost exact – background, ( or whatever you want to call it), it’s very and highly unlikely that everything that you would say would match the other person’s perception and every subject that you would talk about from social behaviors to religion would actually risk ending up being interpreted in a negative way by the other party.
So let’s start with the following, I want you to picture yourself in this situation: You are at an art gallery and looking at one particular piece of art and then another person happen to be sitting or standing at the art gallery and starring at the same piece. So obviously, you must share the interest of art right?
You looked at that painting, pause and say to yourself maybe horrible critics… Maybe because you didn’t understand it, as it didn’t make sense to you, as if the artist literally just took a piece of paint and scrambled around that white canvas, And then put a $20,000 as price tag for the result.
So you look at that painting, and you say out loud:
This is ugly, this painting is ugly, it’s worthless…
And then you the other person who was standing next to you, listening and checking, they might have found your comment and opinion, rather insulting to the artist and to the maybe to the entire art community.
Because what you’re saying was a statement that suggests that if another person doesn’t necessarily agree with it, you are putting yourself at a higher level where everyone who disagree with you BENEATH.
So this small comment of yours, your small opinion (of yours) turns into a debate where the other person is actually in a position to say, No, you’re wrong, this is very valuable, and so on. And he/she starts taking the defensive mode because they posses a sense that is a different opinion than yours.
Now, my comment and advice to the leader or the person I’m coaching would be the following:
When you pick your words, try to if you want to say a negative thing about that, or what is try to link it to yourself, instead of “This is an ugly painting,” Switch it to “I don’t like this type of painting” and instead of saying, This is too expensive, switch it to I wouldn’t pay such a price for such a piece.
Now, the difference between the both statements is that when you say I don’t like it, you’re not suggesting that the other person who may actually like it as well ” you have a lower taste than me” or that you’re suggesting that he should agree as well or else.
All what you’re saying is that you didn’t liked it. So if the person liked it, he’s not in a combat with you; If you say: “I wouldn’t pay that much for it”. You may have a million other reasons than the reason of this is not worth that much, so the other person, don’t feel he’s offended.
This week’s tip is about seeing things from the other perspective in words,
Try when you want to compliment the person to talk about them to when you want to not complement and do the opposite Talk about you.
It’s a very helpful thing if you want to say something negative, that if you went into, per example, a party and you didn’t like the food, and you have to give your opinion, just say: I wasn’t feeling well today.
In contrast, For example, if you want to compliment the person who invited you, you can look straight in the eye and Say:
“Joanna, YOU are magnificent host, THANK YOU!”
And there you go, the magic of words…
Have a beautiful week.
Samer Chidiac is a Strategic Innovation Advisor, a Business Psychologist, a Philanthropist, an Author and a Speaker.