Wait a minute—did you just hear something that you simply can’t agree to? Being mum about it certainly isn’t an option—you can’t let other people speak about something that you know just isn’t right for you. At the same time, you better be tactful about expressing your own opinion. But how do you do it without unnecessarily burning bridges? Tactfulness is an important element in communication, and you will have to use it in times like these.
Empathize. Don’t tear a person down with the unnecessary use of harsh words. Instead, try to connect to that person by trying to understand where he’s coming from. It takes a lot of inner strength and will to try to see the positive in another person’s actions or comments, no matter how you disagree with it. But, alas, this is the starting point, if you truly want a fruitful and meaningful conversation with a resolution.
Be calm. Before you say the unthinkable and regret it later on, why don’t you take a deep breath? Don’t take what is being said personally. And although the other person is talking to you in the loudest voice and most aggressive tone, there’s power in staying calm when speaking your mind.
Don’t wait. It’s about time that you stop waiting before you speak your mind—maybe because you’re scared that other people will find your opinion stupid or you don’t want to cause conflict. It’s only a matter of time before you feel the consequences of not speaking up. Someone else might say your piece of mind and end up being brilliant. Or worse, the project might end up being a disaster precisely because of the contrary opinion that you didn’t bring up.
Be brief and concise. Before you speak up, frame your opinion in such a way that it will be brief and on point. Time is precious, and people don’t have all the time in the world to listen to you, so by all means, get on with what you have to say already.