How important is psychology to diplomacy

Diplomacy: The Art of Being Diplomatic

Diplomats can talk without saying much and say what they don't mean. You shy away from the direct, know all detours and prefer to think twice, before they say nothingas Winston Churchill once described it. Diplomats are masters of listening, but also great at it, if need be, without many words and yet addressing everything. The Art of diplomacy is not only suitable for the big political stage, but can also be an important tool in the workplace. What is important and how you too can learn to be diplomatic ...

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Diplomacy: what does that actually mean?

When it comes to diplomacy, many think first important representatives of a countrywho deal behind closed doors with the decisions that are then announced in front of the cameras and spread through the news. A comprehensible assessment, after all, diplomacy in the narrower sense is that Art of negotiation between the representatives of different groups - with mostly different views and expectations.

This situation occurs particularly frequently with state and government representatives who represent the interests of a state externally - the diplomats. The term can also be taken a little broader and so it can also be used in everyday life and In your professional life, in particular, you will always be an advantage if you can act diplomatically. After all, it is not just on a political level that different approaches and opinions clash.

But what does that actually mean - act diplomatically? We have four classic signs compiled:

  • Find solutions.

    Diplomacy is always looking for solutions. We look for common approaches instead of getting bogged down in mutual opinions.

  • Work together.

    If you are diplomatic, you don't just think about your own advantage, you want to achieve the best for everyone involved.

  • Stay professional.

    There are many negotiating tricks to ensure your own negotiation success, but true diplomacy does not rely on outsmarting the other person, but really on finding a common denominator - even if one or the other information is withheld from time to time.

  • Think long term.

    Even if the short-term and immediate success is sometimes tempting, diplomatic negotiations are about thinking long-term and foregoing the short-term positive effect in favor of a later great benefit.

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This is how you learn the art of diplomacy

The art of diplomacy seems to have been put into the cradle of some people. Others have a hard time doing this, but the good news is that anyone can learn to become more diplomatic and act.

To help you with this, we have some tips collected that will help you learn the art of diplomacy.

  1. Stay ready to compromise

    Assertiveness and the ability to get one's way through are fundamentally important and positive qualities, but if you want to act diplomatically, you must always be willing to compromise in order to come to a mutual conclusion. Do not set your point of view as the only possible truth in advance; stay open to new suggestions.

  2. Do not enter into every discussion

    The fact that you want to act diplomatically does not mean that your interlocutor will act in the same way. Therefore, do not get involved in every little discussion or argument. This only leads to the fact that we are further removed from each other - and a solution is also a long way off.

  3. Don't get too emotional

    The more emotions involved in a negotiation, the more difficult it is to remain diplomatic. It is good if you can express your point of view with passion, but if the emotions become too great it is better to take a short break so that the mind can calm down.

  4. Know your goals

    In diplomacy too, it is essential that you know your own goals and want to achieve them. This is the only way you can avoid being simply taken advantage of by others and only acting as a puppet that bends and adapts until others are satisfied.

The ABC of diplomacy

Of all the arts of fighting conflicts without conflict, this is diplomacy certainly the most effective, but also the most difficult. Because it meanders through that Gray area between perfect rhetoric and deliberate half-truth.

This makes them incredibly successful: Those who want to ignore the heads of others, professionally or privately, usually only generate resistance and rarely achieve their goal when they want to land customers, haggle over conditions with suppliers or convince the boss of a promotion. With Sure instinct it would be much better.

Our ABC of diplomacy helps you improve your diplomatic skills:

the atmosphere

is the A for any negotiation. Show the other real, personal interest, be kind, smile! And avoid any reproachful confrontation.


are essential. They encourage confidentiality and benevolence, tactical behavior sabotages them. Therefore, mirror the other person's body language at the beginning, this will open him up.


Those who keep calm and keep their emotions in check create peace before the conflict can escalate. This also includes the others not to be run over with arguments and demands.

Play through

Nothing works without good preparation. So think through all the possible scenarios beforehand, then you cannot catch them off guard. It also broadens your horizons.


lasts the longest. A good diplomat is allowed neither lie nor cheat - But he doesn't have to say everything either. So only give out information that is expected of you.


the help to remove ambiguities or to arouse understanding ("Could it also be that ..?"), Appear friendlier than statements that claim to be absolute ("fact is ..."). However, leading questions are taboo. They are pure manipulation and damage every discussion climate.


are to be preserved - namely one's own as well as that of the other! At any time.


Empathy is the key to diplomatic success: what is the other's motive? What are his interests? Where are his sore spots? How can I win him over?


What is your destination? If you don't know where you want to go, you often end up somewhere else. Even if detours are the rule in diplomacy - you should never lose the central theme.


Keep that Joy of partial success always (!) for yourself. First, because the other person would otherwise expect concessions in return. Second, because your (partial) victory makes him look like a loser.


belong to. It remains to be seen whether it always has to be the exact center. Good diplomats always work together to find creative solutions that go beyond the usual ideas.


instead of knowledge. Whoever dominates, outdoes, teaches or wants to shine with their own knowledge only hurts themselves. Better: Study your counterpart and adapt to his role. Just think of Antonius Freud's bon mot about the powerlessness of the praised.

facial expressions

Every gesture, no matter how practiced, is dangerous. If exposed, you are considered a dishonest cardsharp. But the diplomat has to create trust - and for that he needs authenticity.

Give in

In language, style and form at any time - never in the matter! Diplomacy is the opposite of a tug of war: Here both sides move towards each other voluntarily. Please always remember this.


Ever The more tense the initial situation, the more neutral the place should bewhere both meet. If that is not possible, make it easier for the other person. Anyone who uses a home advantage is tactically smart, but diplomatically stupid.


who immediately get upset about nicknames have already lost. Diplomacy lives from the soft, fine tones and the nuances in the subtext. It is important to pay attention to this at all times.

Cross country

The direct connection between two peaks is not the straight line, but the serpentine. Advantage number two: detours increase local knowledge. So always hide your real goal.


Only a fool will miss his best arguments at the beginning. Diplomatic negotiation is a Constant sounding out, comparing, adjusting, waiting. And patience is essential with this game.


Diplomacy is like dancing: so that neither one steps on their feet, both need Freedom of movement - and room to negotiate. Which, of course, you can explore for yourself beforehand.


disarmed. Who even then Shows affection even though he is attacked hard, makes his counterpart weary and tired and on top of that earns respect and sympathy.


is taboo! That would be a severe affront to the sovereignty of the other. Better let him say anything he wants. In the end, you may find out more than he would like.


Doesn't exist in diplomacy - or it went terribly wrong. Therefore, never just look for your own advantage. Those who help solve each other's problems create loyal allies.

To repeat

Regular Summarize what has been understood and what is agreed on, emphasizes similarities and avoids misunderstandings. However, subtle evaluations are prohibited.

X – any

may not be any of your words. Watch out for any misunderstandingthat it can trigger and formulate it as precisely as necessary and as taciturn as possible in order to minimize the surface area for attack.


Avoid the word "no" to it creates tension and differences. Better is the dosed or suggested "yes", in which only parts of the statement - often the unimportant - are agreed.

To listen

In rhetoric it says: Who asks leads. In diplomacy this applies to listeners. Because this is not about clever counterattacks, but about letting the other seem to lead the conversation.

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