PBR EP17: Tactful & Honest Communication Skills


One of the difficulties I consistently encounter while working 1-on-1 with people, is their general frustration when it comes to communication. However, they don’t always know it’s this. Often, they assume their personal frustration is about other people’s inability to do what they’re told, or other people’s inability to understand them. Really though, in many cases, their frustration arises because they cannot connect authentically with other people in a significant that is both tactful and honest.


  • definition: skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.

When we are afraid of offending people, or afraid of people not doing what we want because we fear the personal consequence, this creates an internal tension and anxiety that makes it very difficult to connect and communicate effectively. This tension and anxiety leads to an attempt to “control” the situation through aggressive tones expressed as outbursts, demands, insults, ultimatums, threats, and more.

This approach, essentially, tries to take your own fear and give it another; make them more afraid than you are, and maybe they will do what you want. Also be expressed as holding hostage what they want, unless they do what you want.

These are all, understandable, yet immature attempts at communication. Understandable, because, we were never taught a more appropriate way of being in touch enough with ourselves, that allows us to communicate honestly without fear. We learned through example, and most people’s examples have been one of fearful communication styles; “do what I want or suffer the consequences.”

As there is less and less fear, we can develop a better understanding of tactful communication styles that help other people understand more clearly where you’re coming from. While also, expressing a deep respect for where they are in their journey.

Whatever tools might be suggested for tactful communication, they are completely useless if the fundamental fear is not resolved. If left unresolved, then the tools will simply be used in a fearful manner. This would simply be a more manipulative way of trying to get people to do what you want, without any genuine connection. Meaning, it would ultimately fail, since what you really crave is the ability to connect more deeply with yourself, others, and life; above and beyond what you ‘think’ you might want in the future.

Because of this, as I write, I hesitate a little bit about going more in details about how to be tactful in communication. What I don’t want to write, is “how to be more manipulative in communication.”

To be manipulative, is finding ways to get people to give up their sovereignty, in either how they behave or how they see/perceive. It’s recognizing that you want something in the future and the other person stands as a barrier between you and what you want. So, you must find a way of convincing them to give up what they want, for your benefit. Rather than, a genuine and equal discovery that you both desire the same thing. If not, if there isn’t that equal discovery in this way, then you are perfectly okay with them making that choice. Meaning, you don’t see them as in the way.

Generally speaking, human beings tend to be so afraid of not getting what they want, that they have little to no interest in establishing a genuine connection if it also means they might not get what they want. The traditional approach, says… “First, you give me what I want, and THEN I’ll be open to connecting with you.” This, of course, doesn’t make authentic connection possible, because the basis of the connection is predicated on the other person not being authentic, but rather being what I want them to be.

To be tactful, is to first genuinely honor the other person’s experience; which, again, can only happen if there isn’t fear, or at least… less fear. If you genuinely honor their journey, this will also include a deep recognition that you don’t really know what is best for them. Essentially, you release them.

Anyway, here are some helpful tips for tactful communication.

  • Expressing appreciation for someone’s time and attention both before and after, in your words, energy, and tone. Regardless of the outcome.
  • Take ownership of your own emotional experience, and be honest about the difficulty “YOU” are having in dealing with yourself. (Rather than blaming them, or others, for your internal experience.)
  • Share your experience, rather than proclaiming that your experience is reality for everyone.
    • For example, “What I see happening, and I could be missing something, is that… xyz is happening, and it appears to be creating xyz problem. Do you see this also? ”
    • Rather than, “This IS what is happening, and it’s a problem.”
  • Before you send that angry email or message, analyze where you are…
    • Taking things personally that are not personal (nothing is)
    • Assuming you know other people’s intentions
    • Where you are afraid and projecting that fear onto others (not owning it)
    • Withholding how you truly feel because you’re afraid of not getting what you want (you’re being manipulative)

Okay, not many tips there because I’m out of time. This is the Pre-Broadcast Reflection for the Live Video that starts soon. Gotta run, naturally… I’ll dive much more into this on today’s episode of “Holding Space for Love to be Seen.”