We interact with people on a daily basis. And it’s highly likely the majority of these interactions are pleasant ones.
However, the inevitable time will come when you disagree with someone on a subject or situation. Do you stand your ground, defending your point of view? Do you give in to avoid an argument? Or do you exercise diplomacy by listening to your counterpart and doing your best to create a win-win scenario?
Your awareness and understanding of various situations and the people involved in them is at the core of being diplomatic. In short, diplomacy is the ability to perceive a situation as your counterpart does and use this information to diffuse any tension or misunderstanding between you.
It is a useful skill in both social and professional worlds. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation of relationship where agreements need to be made in light of a new event or emerging difference of opinion.
When exercising diplomacy, you evaluate an event or situation before you begin talking it out, taking action, or attempting to solve any part of it. You give mindful attention to the possibility of offending another person or, worst case scenario, setting off a powder keg of emotions, thus ending the possibility of a mutual understanding.
All relationships have their tense moments and disagreements. Knowing how to navigate these is the only way a compromise or understanding can be reached.
The ultimate goal is to find a win-win for all involved via tactful conversation. Keeping this goal in mind should help make the following rules of engagement easier to follow:
If your time for discussion of a disagreement is not an impromptu one, you’ll have an opportunity to give more thought to how the conversation might go. Part of your preparation should be seeing the situation from the other side’s point of view.
This will help prepare you for not only what the other person(s) may want or say, but will help you prepare an appropriate response and prevent any knee-jerk reactions that could send the discussion into a spiral.
Some other things to consider in your preparation are:
Diplomacy is about coming to terms with competing values and priorities. There are bound to be conflicts and no relationship is perfect.
No one should be asked to abandon their beliefs. By practicing diplomacy, you can stand up for your beliefs in the midst of others standing up for theirs. Kindness and firmness are not enemies.