Ever felt that when you listening to someone and no matter how they tried to express themselves, the person listening felt bothered or offended? Another scenario is speaking to another person, then the sinking feeling that they are not paying attention to you as are speaking or cutting you off as you are speaking? Tact and Active Listening are the key components that is amiss to many.
These behaviors are offend rooted from individuals who are either unaware of the impact of their communication and/or ability to wait their turn to speak while giving someone their undivided attention. The solution to these communications blunders are Tact and Active Listening.
When engaging a group of people and one is able to express themselves in a way that is not offensive, even if the topic discussed is controversial, one will perceive that speaker differently. You begin to hold what they say with more clout and thus become more engaged with them while speaking. The reason why this happens is because the speaker is using the power of Tact.
Tact is a communication skill that a speaker can express themselves and without arousing, or at least minimize, defensiveness and opposition. Tact is usually used for public speaking. However, using tact on in everyday speech is great skill to have because you have the power to speak and express oneself without unintentionally offending your audience and creating additional conflicts.
Let’s examine this conversation between two people –
Rob asks Jon his opinion on the app made b their classmates Jimmy
“Jon, I been hearing this new app by Jimmy is the best thing ever. I actually tried it myself and so far so good. what you think Jon?” Jon replies, ” It’s ok, actually I could of made this better myself. I see some of the faults in this app, I think that Jimmy needs to check his error log in the program he uses, then again he is not as good as I am plus If I am not mistaken Rob, you were in the same class as him right? I wonder how y’all made it out?” Jon chuckles. Rob has annoyed look his face.” Jon, why does us being classmates have to do with anything?’ Rob snaps….
In this example, Jon shared his opinion about the app, however based on how he expressed it, he aroused annoyance in Rob by insulating that since the faulty app made by his classmate is a reflection of Rob’s skills as app designer. Jon did not use Tact to convey his opinion without creating a negative response from Rob.
If Jon expressed himself using tact, the conversation would turn out as –
“Jon, I been hearing this new app by Jimmy is the best thing ever. I actually tried it myself and so far so good. what you think Jon?” Jon replies,” It’s ok, actually I am not sure if Jimmy checked the bugs in the app. We should tell him because, one, it looks bad on all of us because we all came from the App program at school and two, because these bug will not do well because they will turn people off from getting his app” Jon expressed “I agree” says Rob.” I think you should tell him the bugs since you pointed it out” Rob mentioned
By Jon using tact to convey his opinion based he created a positive and cooperative discussion about their classmates app.
The second power that works wonders with tact is Active Listening. Active Listening is being 100% engaged in a conversation. The listener gives their undivided attention to the speaker. Also, one component of active listening that is vital is re-paraphrasing what the speaker say. This functions as a clarification tool. This ensures that the speaker is understood. If there was a misunderstanding, the speaker can clarify on the fly.
In this example, Rob is sharing his opinion about his experience with cats with Jon.
“Jon, I was at my girl’s house and she just got this new cat. She calls her kitty. At first I was like, you know what, this is ok, cat is not gonna be issues with us and the cats kinda cute” Rob explains ” Then all of the sudden the cat is always following me!?” Rob mentioned ” even when it kiss face time, Kitty just jumps up on us and lays right on our lap like we the new cat couch! Pretty crazy right?” Rob asked Jon. Jon was in his phone the entire time and miss all of Rob’s story. “What?” Jon asked” I was checking my notification on Facebook, waiting on a response for the photo I posted, what did you say again?” Jon said
Jon was not simply not there while Rob was telling the story. Here how active listening would helped this situation –
“Jon, I was at my girl’s house and she just got this new cat. She calls her kitty. At first I was like, you know what, this is ok, cat is not gonna be issues with us and the cats kinda cute” Rob explains ” Then all of the sudden the cat is always following me!?” Rob mentioned ” even when it kiss face time, Kitty just jumps up on us and lays right on our lap like we the new cat couch! Pretty crazy right?” Rob asked Jon. ” Wait, so Your girl’s new cat is basically being in away from the Kiss face time?” Jon paraphrased. ” Yeah man” Rob responded, ” That cat is always there. I know it is her new cat but come on man! I need my ” Me love you long time” time” Rob chuckles. ” I hear ya , man” Jon said.
Jon used active listening to help gain more understanding about Rob”s story. Also by being engaged in Rob’s story, Rob was able to go in more in-depth with the story.
Tact and Active Listening work well together hand to hand. With using them in daily interaction with folks can easily cultivate more meaningful conversations. The opportunities to use these tool will be plenty. the key is just be aware of them and use accordingly. You will be amazed how people love to talk to you!