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3 Tips To Be Direct

Posted August 4, 2014 by Belinda Chiu in On the Ladder
We often talk about the need to be honest, open, and direct. No beating around the bush. If you got something to say, say it. However, it seems that Career Girls either get knocked down for being too indirect and passive or too direct and blunt.

What’s a Career Girl to do?

Career Girls knows that being direct is more nuanced that just blurting out everything in you brain. But for some reason, some people use “being direct” as an excuse to being rude or hateful. In the last two weeks alone, I’ve had two conversations with seasoned professionals who proudly spoke about their direct communication style. Yet in our interactions, it seemed that they had both completely forgotten the rules of proper human etiquette and used “directness” as excuses for rudeness .

Being direct while maintaining respect is a skill that takes practice and finesse. I tend to have a direct style myself, and I’m still learning how to be balance my desire to be completely honest and being generous in thinking. Do I do it perfectly every time? No, but a few things that I keep in mind help me to stay authentic:

1. Establish ground rules
Inform the other person of the process of the conversation. Let the other person know the purpose of the conversation and the process (i.e. In sharing X and Y, I am talking about the issue, not you. After I share, please offer your perspective, and then we will….) Setting up expectations for how the conversation will take place will help the person not jump to the defensive that you are attacking. Do it with kindness.

2. Set intention
Understand and share your intention. If your purpose is to help the other person recognize the issues at hand so that he or she can learn and grow, share your motivation. This will help the other person to recognize that you are not being direct just to be difficult, but that the conversation is only part of the bigger picture. Do it with purpose.

3. Listen
Stop and listen. We often rush in and try to dominate the conversation, perhaps making comments that are dismissive or rude. Not pausing to listen and interrupting is a signal to the other person that he or she is not important or or what he or she has to say is not valid. Suspend your judgment and truly stop to hear. Do it with openness.

About the Author

Belinda Chiu

Dr. Belinda Chiu is a social change strategist, coach, and facilitator. Like you, she believes that everyone has the transformational ability to reach her potential and beyond. Dr. Chiu incorporates a practice of mindfulness to help individuals harness their natural strengths, achieve results, and carve their own paths towards professional fulfillment. For more tips, subscribe to the monthly newsletter, Why Not? on www.hummingbirdrcc.com or follow on @hummingbirdrcc.