We’ve all had our fair share of less than remarkable comments. The Fast Track tells us to learn how to respond to these situations in a way that avoids damaging relationships.
Picture: Elizabeth Ashley Jerman/Flickr
It’s easy to feel comfortable enough to speak up about things in a social situation, especially when we’re with people we know well. When someone makes an awkward, dumb or flat-out wrong remark, we may have a tendency to laugh, correct them or otherwise react in a snide way. Geoffrey Tumlin, author of “Stop Talking, Start Communicating”, says it’s important to give the other person time to process and retract the statements themselves — before you make them feel judged and self-conscious.
The Fast Track summarises his theory:
By “playing dumb” and simply pretending you didn’t hear the stupid remark you give the person time to self-correct and let those wrong words drift away and not damage the interaction, he says.
This can be especially important in an age when we seem to be talking more and more but conveying less clear and concise information. The hundreds of emails and texts we send out may not always be flawless, so we should be fair about slipups by others and focus on what they are saying right instead of what they are saying wrong, he says.
While Tumlin advocates “playing dumb,” he says it doesn’t fit every situation and must be used correctly in order to be effective. For example, it can be more beneficial to use your silence with bosses, key clients or important colleagues, “where you have less leverage to alter their behaviour,” he says.
Fast Track has a few examples of gracefully responding to these stupid remarks, so be sure to check it out at the link below.
Why Playing Dumb Can Be a Smart Career Strategy [The Fast Track]