1. Tell your truth with compassion. Always
remember that your objective is to share your insight. It's not to be
right or belittle the other. People can't hear and you can't inspire
when you've triggered their defense mechanisms.
2. Seek first to understand. Before you
confront or criticize, make sure you understand the situation. Your
assumption may not be accurate.
3. Ask questions. No one likes to be told what
to do. Used in the right way, questions can enlighten. "Would
you be open to a suggestion?" "Are you aware that you do X?
"Have you ever considered doing X instead of Y?" "Would
you be willing to do this differently?
4. Speak from a position of personal
responsibility. "When you do this, I feel this way. When you do
thus and so, it affects us in this way."
5. Keep your emotions out of it. If you have
strong emotion attached to the situation you're probably in judgment
of the other person. If your issues are triggered, it will likely
obscure or distort the communication.
6. Start with a compliment. Challenge the best
that's within them. "I know you're committed to doing your best
and what I saw today doesn't seem consistent with that
commitment." Confront the behavior, not the person. Use the word
"and" instead of "but" after a compliment.
7. Avoid sarcasm. Leave this technique to TV
sitcoms. It has no place when telling the truth with compassion.
8. Avoid absolutes. When you use words like
"all", "every" and "never," you dilute
the power of your statement. They serve to antagonize and it's rare
these absolute adverbs are ever true.
9. Pick an appropriate time. If possible,
choose a time and a place that will enhance your message being heard
with an open mind. Timing does matter.
10. Don't be attached to the outcome. Say your
peace without trying to control the behavior of the other person.
Your responsibility is to deliver the message in a way that is
understood, not to force change or control behavior.
11. Bonus: Don't "should" on
people--or yourself for that matter. When we tell people they should
do something, we are subtly--or not so subtly--attempting to
manipulate their behavior and we are judging them.