By Colleen Harding
Recently, I received an email that was very direct and upsetting. I didn’t know this person, and I had not solicited their opinion. I might have considered their point if they had not forced it on me in such an offensive manner. I thought about the purpose of such an email for several days. In my mind, being rude to a protocol consultant is like robbing a police station. Why would you do it? A protocol consultant is committed to teaching people how to be polite and polished.
Whether you are in the corporate arena or in a social setting, think before you speak. Words are piercing and can leave a lasting impression. Many times we are so concerned with expressing ourselves that we fail to consider the effect our words are going to have on the other person. We think they are entitled to our opinion, but they are not. If a person asks you for your opinion, then the door has been opened. It is an invitation to cordially express your thoughts. If a person does not ask for your opinion and you feel strongly that your opinion needs to be heard, be polite and proceed with caution. If you are respectful and tactful, you are 10 times more likely to be heard.
How you approach a subject can be far more powerful than the actual content of your conversation. When you use the right tone, your message is far clearer.
If your delivery is going to be offensive or it has potential to be misinterpreted, hold back. Take a deep breath and consider your audience. Are these words going to come back to haunt you? Are these people going to think less of you for voicing this opinion?
Are you going to be sorry you said anything?
Think before you speak. You never know how abrasive words and an offensive tone of voice may affect someone and come back to haunt you.
Colleen Harding is a protocol coach and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. Her website address is http://www.clevelandschoolofetiquette.com.
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