One of the biggest concerns when it comes to public speaking, presentations and general communication among people is fear. Generally, some people are really afraid of sharing their ideas and perspectives, mainly because they feel that they’re not in the position to share or that their ideas/views aren’t “good enough”. Some people just feel that they should not interfere in other people’s decisions and life!
Whilst I would generally agree that we should not expect other people to change, enforce our expectations on other people or make them do what we think they should do (re: interference), I think that deprieving our valued friends and family of our genuine concerns and perspectives is not something that should be encouraged too.
Personally, I’m a very strong believer in the need for awareness. I believe that awareness is a key ingredient for change and helps people make informed and credible decisions in life. After all, in order to change direction that we’re travelling in, we must know WHERE to go and HOW to change in order to effect that change. And questions involving the 5Ws and 1H really require awareness to effect.
Yet awareness can only come about when there’s availability of information. This information can come from many sources. It may be derieved from the media, from books, magazines and newspapers, or from people, teachers, relatives and… friends.
A friend once shared that he does not like telling people that he is angry or upset about something when other people does something that he upsets him. The reason(s) he gave was that he didn’t think he was a in good position to “tell people off”, “his views weren’t important”, or “I don’t think I expect them to change because of my words”.
Those were very strong concerns! And I believe many people would feel the same way too! We really don’t like inconveniencing people or make people feel uncomfortable. I think that is very responsible approach to people!
However, I also believe that depriving our friends and family of the chance to discover certain loopholes or personal blindspots for growth and making informed decisions is not a very responsible thing to do!
Sounds like a classical no-win situation aye?
Not exactly. One fellow trainer had once commented “I’m not here to convince or convert people. Just here to tell them the truth”.
This is exactly what you’re going to do – tell people the truth.
But herein lies another problem: Some people don’t like to know the truth! And some people don’t know how to tell the truth (with kindness)!
Well, fret not. You wish to use a technique which I call “Matter-a-Fact Sharing”.
Firstly, I think it’s important that the Sharer focuses on highlighting loopholes and airing concerns to the recipients who are about to receive our feedback. The key idea is to direct our thoughts, concerns and perspectives to our friends in form of a feedback and sharing WITHOUT the hope and expectation that they change.
Recognise that their life is theirs and whatever consequences that comes with whatever action they take will be held by them. Since you are you, and they are they (duh!), you will not feel the impact of the consequences of their choices at a full 100%.
Acknowledge the importance of their current actions and beliefs, but also seek to highlight certain points which you feel might be of importance to them. The key word is might. Remember, what’s important to you may not be important to them!
3. Be Calm
Be calm and cool. Allowing emotions to rule when you’re giving feedback on something sensitive is a potentially explosive affair. It’s like lighting a match next to a gas stove! A spark’s all it takes for a fiery and emotional encounter. And I doubt nobody would like to see that happen!
The duration of your responsibility ends immediately after you’ve dispensed with your advice. Remember, you’re not there to convince or convert. You’re there to show the recipient a perspective or an idea which you think might be of importance to him/her!
Do not burden yourself with whether he/she buys your idea!
Matter-a-fact Sharing is all about relating your concerns (which are genuine of course!) and perspectives (what you see) to someone else. It’s not about what’s real or how true or false your idea is. After all, we can never really know to what degree our ideas are real/true/false and there are always exceptions. What’s real now may not be real in the future. And what happened to us in the past may not be relevent to the present. So remember, our advice need not necessarily be right! Neither does it necessarily have to be wrong/useless!
The value of our words and perspectives, therefore lies in the eyes of the beholder. It’s up to the recipient to decide. It’s after all, his/her life and thus his/her responsibility to accept/reject your advice.
So since we can’t make the decision for others, and since there may be substantial value in our message, then what the heck, let’s just share it anyway! We’ll leave the choice up to the recipient!
Don’t you think life would be much simpler that way? Wouldn’t speaking be especially easier this way?
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Disclaimer: Kindness never hurts! Hurting is never kind! You also wish to exercise tact and kindness in sharing!
For more information about kindness and sharing, you may refer to my post on Flattery VS Sincere Appreciation