5 Ways to Sound Helpful Not Patronizing
by Kate Nasser |
Helpful can sound patronizing when said in the wrong way or at the wrong time.
Whether you are a leader, manager, teammate, friend, or family member, people skills timing and tone of voice improve your image, interactions and results.
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Assuming the words are not hurtful, we sound helpful not patronizing when we:
- Learn what they think or feel instead of presuming to know. “How do you feel?” sounds helpful. “I’m sure you feel/think …” sounds patronizing.
- Check our motives before we speak. Are we offering help because we have lost patience with them or how they work? That motive shows in our words and tone of voice. It can sound patronizing vs. helpful. This is especially true when we have had previous disagreements.
- Ask permission to help before we give advice or a helping hand — regardless of our motives. Unsolicited help can seem patronizing and demeaning. If we must jump in without asking, best to first offer the critical reason why.
- Be helpful in a way that the other person will value. Don’t treat people the way you want to be treated. Treat people the way they want to be treated.
An amiable personality type focusing on emotions can sound patronizing to a results oriented driver.
The get-it-done driver can sound patronizing to an analytic who wants all the details.
The analytic can sound patronizing and preachy to those who want the main point first.
The expressive risks patronizing others when they dwell on one subject for too long.
- Use focused words instead of minimizing words. For example, primarily is a focused word whereas just and only are minimizing words. “Are you just concerned about the deadline?” can minimize someone’s perspective and sound dismissive and patronizing. “Are you primarily concerned about the deadline?” can fuel a valuable discussion.
It’s not purely what we say that matters. It’s also how and when we say it! When we adapt, we succeed. Versatility takes us further than one approach.
From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
©2011-2016 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.
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