Tact is the art of convincing people that they know more than you do.
Tact and diplomacy are skills that do not just come in handy in business, but in life as well. Without a confident persuasive technique, it is hard to get your way in a world as complex as ours.
It is nearly impossible to get very far in life solely on the basis of an elaborate education and sound knowledge. This is especially true in the field of business, where tact plays a major role in determining whether you can get a favorable deal or not. The appropriate use of diplomacy cannot just boost one’s business, but also help build lasting relationships based on mutual respect. This, in turn, improves communication and ensures that you don’t have to deal with stressful situations.
Tact plays an equally important role in our everyday lives, too. From dealing with the local supermarket vendor to negotiating with your real estate broker, your bargaining skills can make all the difference between a fair deal and an unfair one.
Being tactful requires a deep understanding and appreciation of others’ beliefs, mindset and opinions. After all, how can you be a step ahead of someone when you have little-to-no idea of where they stand? It requires an ability to sense what the other party might be thinking, and phrasing your own requirements in a way that they don’t seem opposed or detrimental to theirs. In fact, it is normal, if not morally right, for diplomatic individuals to get their way even at the expense of the other party’s interests.
Another aspect of tact is that it must be tailored to every situation. You simply cannot expect to use the same persuasive methods in two different settings; you need to fine-tune your approach to the opinions of the person you are dealing with. In fact, what may be diplomatic in one situation may come across as outright disrespectful in another.
Charles Raymond Bell Mortimer, more popularly known as simply Raymond Mortimer, was a British writer and literary critic. A vocal proponent of diplomacy, Mortimer once wrote: “Tact is the art of convincing people that they know more than you do.”