Invisible Language, Part 3: What To Do If You Have To Correct Someone
I want to thank Tim Dimoff, President of SACS Consulting, for emailing me the information on Invisible Language. In Parts 1 and 2, we focused on what not to say. Invisible Language Part 3 tells us the proper way to respond when correcting a misunderstanding without being condescending.
Of course, there are times when correcting a misunderstanding is the right thing to do. But there is a way to do it without being condescending? Stop and ask yourself, what’s the benefit? Is it important? Does the benefit of the correction outweigh the risk of making this person feel stupid? If there isn’t any benefit, you’re better off biting your tongue.
You can also use what’s called the “validate-clarify-continue” technique. This is a language strategy that helps you present correct information while minimizing the risk of triggering negative emotions. For example, instead of saying “Actually, the entrance is at the back of this building,” try something like this:
- (Validate their belief) “It would make sense for the entrance to be at the front, wouldn’t it!”
- (Clarify) “For some reason, the entrance here is at the back.”
- (Continue–with a question to move the conversation forward) “Do you know how to get around there?”