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    Using Diplomatic Language

Conscious Communication: bringing communication up from "auto-pilot" and reactive, to thoughtful, responsive, and above all, intentional.

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Using Diplomatic Language

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Manipulation or Facilitation

A number of clients over the years have expressed some discomfort with their newfound skills in communication, even asking questions about ethics. These questions are familiar to those who’ve studied Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) or Hypnotherapy. Being able to move someone with communication; whether that’s moving them in their “position,” or moving them emotionally, is quite powerful. When we’re moved by a poem, we rarely think of that as being manipulated, even though in the strictest definition that’s exactly what happened. In fact, depending upon your source, the negative connotations that the word carries can be a second or third definition.

Manipulation actually comes from the Latin: manipulus, which is to operate with the hands or by mechanical means. To “turn something over in your hands” is actually a precise definition of manipulation. We’ve only added the “devious” implications over the last few hundred years. Now that we’ve shifted its meaning, it seems we’re stuck with that.

When a technique proves extremely effective, it becomes an advantage. Conscious Communication gives you an ability to move others through your words. In and of itself, this kind of advantage is no more malevolent than having a graphite tennis racquet or a titanium bicycle frame. These advantages are available to everyone, and they’re not breaking any “rules.” You still have to use the tools well, regardless of how good the tools may be. How you use them becomes the real question. What is your desired outcome? This comes back to Non-Zero Sum game theory.

Just as a quick reminder, Zero-Sum describes the outcome where one must lose for the other to win. There is no room for cooperation, compromise, or a win-win scenario here. Futures and options trading and boxing are prime examples of this. Unfortunately, this is also the common model of most dialogues and negotiations. “I’m right!” “no, I’m right!” is the gist of these highly evolved dialogues. Again, one person must lose for the other to gain.

This month’s topic, diplomatic language, is basically a subset of Conscious Communication. There’s no way you can avoid stepping on toes, catch important cues or influence the harmonious nature of the dialogue itself, without being very conscious. It isn’t generally used to beat the other person. Diplomatic language generally has a desired outcome that is about the good of the “we” rather than the good of the “me.” It aims for a higher purpose than one side or the other winning; it’s about both sides winning.



Do No Harm

When I use the term Diplomatic Language, I’m really talking about non-incendiary language, non-judgmental language, and open to possibilities language. This can be as simple as asking a question in place of making an assumptive statement (always a smart choice). Another place where we can easily access diplomatic language is when we put ourselves in the other person’s position. How would we want to be spoken to, treated, or listened to? What a simple thing to apply?!

Simple or not as a concept, it can’t hurt to break it down to some course of action steps. One of the big parts of living and working in the “we” consciousness rather than the “me” consciousness, is not assuming that interactions are going to take from you. This is one of those hiding just below conscious thoughts that yank our filters and lenses askew (and thus our perceptions). We can start without that assumption, not adopt a protective stance from square one, and not put all that energy into defense.

There is nothing that someone can say that will actually diminish you, or diminish what you believe, or diminish what you feel. Let that sink in for a moment. In this way you are impervious and invulnerable. When you are impervious and invulnerable, you don’t have to worry so much about being destroyed all the time. This allows you to come to the dialogue relaxed and confident. Your language will naturally be more diplomatic.

Next, when you don’t come to the table with your language balled up in fists, other people don’t feel as threatened either, and defenses start to take a back seat to things like the agenda or the purpose of the dialogue. Power struggles are often created by totally unnecessary assumptions. The only reason for a power struggle, is in a Zero-Sum game. When the rules of the game are laid out in advance as being Non-Zero Sum, there is no advantage to either party being in more “power” than the other. Power is irrelevant to the agenda or the purpose of the dialogue.

Power struggles are a distracting, hurtful, destructive force in the attainment of a common good. Both sides not engaging in that particular battle, or the battle of assumed attack from the other person, leaves all the energy and resources of thought and imagination to go toward (once again) the agenda or the purpose of the dialogue.

In each case, looping back to the “good of the we” rather than the “good of the me,” will yield superior, long-term results. Using diplomatic language is really just operating from a higher place of consciousness; a place where you “know better,” about all the little petty things that people get caught up in, and there’s no reason to go down that road. You can believe something different than I believe, and we will not obliterate the Universe like matter and anti-matter. It’s just good old pluralism at work. Diplomatic language leaves the opening for pluralism, and the opening for solutions that are larger, more creative and mutually beneficial than your way or my way.





Quick Communication Tip


Opposition Preparation

In debate, one of the ways to prepare is to take on the opponent’s position, and then develop the best arguments you can from that position. We get plenty of practice espousing our own opinions, and in many cases don’t think more of a differing one than “they’re wrong.” Researching and trying to prove their point can be incredibly enlightening.

Sometimes this will offer us new information relevant to our previous stance. Sometimes it will offer us an understanding of the other person’s perspective. In no circumstance will it hurt our ability to communicate more intelligently about the subject matter. In every circumstance it will enhance our ability to take the high road, and find the more diplomatic solution that will serve everyone better and long-term.   


Want to learn more about how your communication can hold you back or catapult you forward?  Come visit the web site, or better yet, contact me and see how we can design a program to fit your needs and desired outcomes.






Resource Links:


Conscious Communication - the podcast series

Personal Life Media - "Coaching the Life Coach:"

Communication Excellence (Podcast Snippets)

Communication Excellence (full interview)

Interview for Entrepreneur Magazine Radio w/ R. Wolter

Interview Podcast for Evolutionary Radio w/ J. McClain

Kind Ambition - 2nd Edition now available

Got Blog? come visit the Blog.

Character Driven - Ever want to create characters that were so believable, that people forgot they were characters?



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