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5 Keys to Being Blunt at Work—Without Sounding Like a Total Jerk

By | Kat Boogaard |

I grew up in one of those obnoxiously loud families who believes you need to say exactly what’s on your mind—without giving any thought to how it might make others feel. Honestly, don’t go shopping with my mother unless you’re prepared to hear an unashamed, “That looks absolutely terrible on you!” as soon as you open the dressing room door.

Even though there have been times I wished my family was a little less honest, I think there’s a lot to be said for utilizing a direct communication style in the office. It saves time and helps to cut down on any confusion resulting from unclear instructions.

But, if you’re part of a workplace that has become accustomed to beating around the bush, being straightforward and frank likely isn’t viewed as such a positive thing. In fact, it can easily become synonymous with brash and aggressive.

What if you want the best of both worlds? Is there a way that you can you get your point across honestly and efficiently, without causing your co-worker to burst into tears? Spoiler alert: There is. Here are a few tips and strategies you’ll need to be direct, without coming off like a complete jerk.

1. Listen

It’s easy to perceive direct people as total conversation steamrollers. However, that’s not always the case. If you’re someone who’s typically more frank, it’s important to remember your true intent behind being that blunt—you’re simply trying to express your opinions clearly and efficiently, without wasting time on fluff, pleasantries, and ego preservation.

So, if your aim is to keep conversations concise and unambiguous, then it’s important that you remember to listen and genuinely consider other people’s thoughts. After all, it’s difficult to adequately and explicitly respond to a statement if you didn’t make the effort to actually contemplate those points. Plus, failing to be attentive because you were just waiting for your turn to talk is a surefire way to be seen as a bully.

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