The Art of Tactful Business Communication

Communication has long been the bestbusinesscommunity thread that has held humanity and social structures together. It is the most intuitive medium that we use for the transmission or propagation of ideas. And while communication at home with our family or friends can look reasonably candid and informal, business communication brings with it all kinds of dynamics that are specific to the environment and social group that one encounters in the workplace. This requires a special set of verbal and non-verbal skills. Communication skills are especially necessary when we deal with persons of different personalities, background and culture.

This is more so the case when dealing with a person in a difficult situation. Often things don’t go as planned in a certain situation with a specific person. As a leader you may find yourself in the unflattering position of needing to confront the employee and/or address the issue. This requires a specific communication technique called Tact.

In this article we will examine some important ways in which a leader can be tactful in addressing either a difficult person or a difficult situation:

This of course first implies defining what tact is – It is the careful addressing of an issue to a person in a careful and sensitive manner that is conscious of his feelings and/or reactions. Tactful communication strives to preserve relationship over the issue. It is proactive by nature and not reactive, keeping in mind the long-term goals and greater good of both the person involved and the company. It factors in the emotions, sensitivities, morale and self-esteem of the person being confronted. But tactful communication is not merely just being nice. It also comprises of many other important things, such as-respect, self-awareness, compassion, honesty and diplomacy. These are elements that make up very vital communication strategies.

Tactful communication also says a lot about you as the leader. It emphasizes your desire for relationship. The employee comes to understand that you value his growth, progress and development over anything else. This does a great deal to add to the leaders reputation, professionalism, integrity, character and credibility. But the most important aspect of tact, is that it helps to avoid conflict by finding common ground but at the same time also helping the other party and not feel embarrassed humiliated in their current situation. This is a great strength to have especially doing conflict resolutions and negotiations. Being tactful depends a lot even on the individuality of the person being addressed. The person with a sensitive background or low self-esteem must be spoken with even more tactfulness than usual. Care must be taken to avoid anything being said that is hurtful, cutting, humiliating or embarrassing. In fact tactful communication must always be positive, encouraging and edifying. Tactfulness is integral to good communication skill.

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