I was sometimes told to “Be Diplomatic” when I had made a gaffe in a social situation or a business situation. Unfortunately, clients can confuse confidence with force, so I came across as forceful at times. Being diplomatic is the solution.

The opportunity for you is in positioning yourself as a true leader—by both listening and solving problems.


The essence behind being diplomatic is being sensitive to other people’s cultures, habits and norms, things that they do normally that they might not even be aware of. To be effective, we need to be respectful of these things.

To convey respect and be diplomatic, it’s important to listen to the way your clients describe their customers, the people they work with, their peers and the way they describe their community at large, including outsiders whose salesperson you may be.

Trying to learn their “language” and being sensitive to what people call out specifically will allow you to be more diplomatic. This will also give you insight into timing, and when to treat an issue softly and respectfully rather than by corrective actions. Respect becomes fundamental.

These sorts of behaviors soften the way you talk to folks. Think of the way you would talk to a six-year-old girl who’s crying: those soothing tones and terms are exactly what we’re talking about when we’re saying, “This person’s really diplomatic. They’re very hard to ruffle. They’re very hard to get off point.” That means they’re there for a purpose and it’s very strategic.

Finally, being diplomatic means you need to plan your outcome. Be diplomatic in the execution. Without an outcome and knowing where you’re going, you’ll be casting a ballot trying to be polite without much of an end in sight.

So, be diplomatic. People like you better, and respect you more. This helps leverage time spent in relationship development and management.

This is important because the only thing we can’t make more of is time, so SELL WELL!


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Dr. Gunter Wessels

Dr. Gunter Wessels

Dr. Gunter Wessels founded LiquidSMARTS℠. He is passionate and dedicated to the improvement of human performance and ethical business practices in sales and marketing. Dr. Wessels leads a global practice that delivers strategic consulting and next-generation personnel development services to individuals and global corporations alike. His expertise comes from more than 25 years in the healthcare industry, including 14 years as a consultant to global and local marketing and sales teams. Dr. Wessels has a Ph.D. in Management with an emphasis in Marketing and Psychology from the University of Arizona, an M.B.A. from the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management, and a B.S. in Biology from the University of California.

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