Friday, October 14, 2005

We could all be a bit more diplomatic

An interesting article on how to reduce "outrage". Though I think this is an absolutely preposterous term, I do think the 50 tips the author presents are salient and important -- not to mention practical.

It goes over how to present bad news, offers tips on how to give good news, what to say when the news is uncertain, advice for listening and collaborating, and a hodge-podge of other useful notes.

Some good points?
"In managing people’s outrage, what you say is less important than what they say. Shut up and listen." (from #24, "Talk less, listen more")

"People feel more understood when you empathically say you don’t understand than when you smugly say you do; try murmuring “I can’t really imagine what that must be like.” For similar reasons, think twice before you tell a story about how you once faced a similar situation. This might be the perfect way to show you get it — or it might feel like you’re changing the subject from their grievances to your life history. Don’t steal the stage, and don’t claim too much understanding." (from #28, "Be careful how you connect to what you are hearing")

"I’ve used the word “acknowledge” a lot in this list already. Like “location” in real estate, acknowledgment is the core of managing outrage. Acknowledge what went wrong; acknowledge what your stakeholders think went wrong; acknowledge what it is about you that makes them want to think so. ...when the audience is already against you, or is likely to listen hard to your opponents later, then you’re doing outrage management — and acknowledgment is the name of the game." (from #43, "Acknowledge acknowledge acknowledge")

A little dry, yes, and overly dependent upon jargon, but lessons we can all be reminded of from time to time.

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