That Four Letter Word…Tact
Tact, tact, TACT.
Like many small words, I think this word sums up a lot of characteristics. But characteristics that are not only innate, but learned. Characteristics that have come from different interactions and scenarios because tact is mainly just being able to remain poised and controlled in any situation.
Let me try to define tact.
- the ability to read someone and know how to act with them
- the ability to react correctly to a situation by thinking first and acting second
- the ability to adjust, either for a person or for a situation
- the ability to relinquish all of the appearance crap and conformism and help someone out even if it’s unorthodox
Tact is… having manners despite the fact that you are unique individual. Respect yourself, but don’t turn pretentious.
Tact is… knowing how people act and aiming to avoid anything that sets their teeth on edge. You don’t necessarily have to cater to their every whim, but you should know that some of your actions will upset people. Your actions may even ruin relationships just because you were careless and “didn’t know.”
Being prepared and knowing is key.
Know your enemy, your friend, your boss, your job. Research into peoples’ body language, research into your job’s requirements, research yourself and the reactions you tend to have.
Take that research and use it!
Engage but don’t blab away and realize too late that you missed a few crucial facts about the person or situation and now you are stuck trying to get out of your rut.
Ever since watching shows like Lie to Me when I was in high school, reading people and their nonverbal cues has become more than a hobby.
I’ve watched and listened so much that I’m able to pick up on others’ idiosyncracies or things that the lay person might miss. Cursing and a blessing.
For the most part, I treat reading people as a gift. I love knowing little things about people that are overlooked or that are seemingly hidden from the public eye. Everyone puts up a mask to mask (noun then verb, respectively) their insecurities.
But what do most people want?
To be understood. And when you surprise them by pointing out something they thought was hidden (in a TACTful way of course!!), it is often enlightening, for both you and them, and it shows you’ve gone through the effort of trying to understand them.
All this talk about reading people is not for the sake of creeping. No no, purely for observing and enjoyment purposes.