Many people consider themselves honest or direct but come off to others as blunt, or even downright rude. Which is the truth?
Well, both, probably.
While you may actually be speaking the truth, you may not be considering the perspective of your conversation partner or your delivery. And because of this, you’re probably hitting brick walls, or creating enemies.
Let’s take a bluntness quiz:
- Do you speak before thinking about what you’re going to say?
- Do you like to “call it like you see it” and think “filters” are for the weak?
- Do you tell people what to do instead of ask?
- Do you interrupt?
- Do you rush to speak the first thing that comes into your head?
- Do you think it's better to be direct with your words at all times?
- Instead of saying “No, thanks,” would you be more likely to say, “I’d rather stick pins in my eyes”?
- Do you say “I told you so"?
- Do you allow your emotions to govern your words?
- Is your tone of voice generally harsh, loud, or terse?
- Do you O-ver EM-phasize syllables, creating a more aggressive sound?
- Do you roll your eyes or smirk while listening or talking?
- Do you show obvious disdain for “whiners”?
- Do you audibly sigh when you are annoyed?
Like verbal vomit, blunt communicators just spew their ideas and emotions without thinking about others’ feelings, personality, or cultural differences. If you answered yes to more than three of the above questions, your “honesty” may be bordering on rudeness. If you answered yes to five or more, then you may want to seriously rethink your communication style. Being overly honest is just hurtful, and this type of bluntness is detrimental to your career and your life. Think of it this way: the goal of your communication should always be to postivitely impact others.
It’s so important to develop a sensitivity to people’s cues (Does the person seem sad or distressed? She may have just lost a loved-one) and different communication styles (Does the person generally like small-talk? He is trying to develop a rapport and establish trust). I have done several episodes that can help you improve in these areas.
- Does Your Communication Style Hold You Back?
- Are You Too Blunt?
- Effective and Authentic Communication
- Communicate Better with Different Types of People
- How to Be More Diplomatic
- Are You an Abrasive Communicator?
It’s easy to be blunt and sarcastic. To be “honest,” any idiot can do it. But bluntness hurts not only everyone around you, but you as well. It takes intelligence, finesse, and strategy to communicate the truth effectively. Honesty can be done tactfully and well.
This is Lisa B. Marshall, changing organizations, changing lives, and changing the world through better communication. If you’d like to learn more about leadership, influence, and communication, I invite you to read my bestselling books, Smart Talk and Ace Your Interview, and listen to my other podcast, Smart Talk.
As always your success is my business!