How to Be More Diplomatic

Learn practical tips to be a diplomatic communicator.

Lisa B. Marshall
4-minute read
Episode #82

How to Be More Diplomatic

Today’s article continues my discussion on how to deal with people more effectively and how to be more diplomatic. In part one I talked about diplomacy from a conceptual perspective, so today, I cover four practical tips for diplomatic communication.

What is Diplomatic Communication?

A diplomatic communicator is someone who can get their message across and convince people to change without damaging the relationship.  Diplomatic communicators use reason, kindness, and compassion.  They show respect for the other person.

Diplomatic communication is about being honest, but not brutally honest. And by the way, it doesn’t mean misrepresenting the truth either. It means communicating in a way that makes a person feel the interaction was respectful and positive. 

In fact, I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying, “It’s not what you say; It’s how you say it.” But how you actually say something diplomatically may not be so obvious.  So, today I’ll share four practical tips to help you to learn how to communicate more diplomatically.

Tip #1: Learn to Flex Your Communication Style

Early on in my career, I was a very direct, right-to-the-point, communicator--no sugar coating for me. One of the best things I did was to attend a training session to better understand the concept of communication styles. I learned my preferred communication style, I learned how to identify the communication styles of those around me, and then I learned how to modify or flex my style to achieve better results.

The training was based on a book called, People Styles at Work, which I briefly talked about in the article Communicate Better with Different Types of People. I’ve since facilitated this type of training for numerous teams and I can say that having a model for understanding communication styles is an extremely valuable management tool (especially if your goal is to be more diplomatic).


About the Author

Lisa B. Marshall

Lisa B. Marshall Lisa holds masters with duel degrees in interpersonal/intercultural communication and organizational communication. She’s the author of Smart Talk: The Public Speaker's Guide to Success in Every Situation, as well as Ace Your Interview, Powerful Presenter, and Expert Presenter. Her work has been featured in CBS Money Watch, Ragan.com, Woman's Day, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and many others. Her institutional clients include Johns Hopkins Medicine, Harvard University, NY Academy of Science, University of Pennsylvania, Genentech, and Roche.