Examples of Tact

Examples of Tact

Examples of Tact Jonathan Poland

Tact is the ability to sensitively and skillfully handle a situation or conversation so as to avoid giving offense. It involves being diplomatic, tactful, and diplomatic in your interactions with others. It is an important skill to have in many aspects of life, including in personal relationships and in the workplace. The following are some examples of tact.

Unfiltered Opinions

Poor tact is strongly associated with individuals who bluntly state their opinions without regard to the feelings of others. Even where these opinions are based on truths, such individuals may seriously damage their chances of positive relationships. For example, a relative who bluntly and unkindly points out that you have gained weight.


There is a fine line between poor tact and bullying — particularly regarding children. For example, a teacher who announces to the entire class in a mocking way that a particular student had the lowest score in the class.


Discretion is the ability to hold back information that is likely to be hurtful, impolite or unhelpful. For example, avoiding a topic that is likely to be sensitive or embarrassing to someone.


The ability to keep secret information that has been divulged in confidence or information that is private in nature. For example, if someone tells you they have romantic feelings for someone — this can be reasonably assumed to be confidential.

White Lies

The ability to say things that aren’t strictly true in order to help others. For example, a teacher who compliments a student on subpar work in order to try to help build their confidence.

Grey Lies

Grey lies are untrue statements that are ethically debatable. For example, if a severely overweight friend asks you if you think they are overweight — it will hurt their feelings to say yes but it may not help them to pretend that they are a healthy weight. In this case, it would really depend on your relationship and the situation such that the best response is debatable.

Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to read the emotion behind things and to respond appropriately. For example, a friend who is asking for criticism from you may really be looking for support and reassurance as opposed to a list of things they need to improve.

Social Intelligence

The ability to read social situations such as office politics. For example, an executive who doesn’t like being contradicted in front of a political foe who will openly accept criticism at all other times. In this case, tact may call for deferring criticism to an opportune time.

Cultural Competence

The ability to build relationships with people from different backgrounds from your own. This requires careful tact whereby you don’t make unfair assumptions about people or their culture.


Treating people and the things they care about with respect. For example, greeting your neighbors and their guests with a friendly demeanor.

Saving Face

Saving face is the practice of actively helping others to avoid embarrassment. For example, delivering criticism indirectly and kindly when correcting the mistakes of others.

Message Framing

Framing communication in a way that is likely to be well received. For example, constructive criticism whereby you point to positive things to soften negative feedback.


A nudge is the process of gently influencing others. This can be contrasted with a lack of tack whereby an individual states their opinion as fact and demands that others immediately agree.


Tact benefits from coolness whereby you aren’t overly serious about everything such that you don’t politicize and dramatize. For example, not becoming intensely emotional when you discover that others have different opinions from your own.


It is possible to have perfect tact in normal situations but then completely lose it in an emotional situation such as a confrontation. As such, personal resilience whereby you don’t lose your composure under stress is an element of tact.

Learn More
What is Fandom? Jonathan Poland

What is Fandom?

Fandom refers to the subculture that develops around particular popular culture series or formats, such as films, television shows, characters,…

Waste is Food Jonathan Poland

Waste is Food

The concept of “waste is food” is based on the idea that an industrial economy should not produce any waste except for biological nutrients that can be safely returned to the environment.

Accounts Receivable Jonathan Poland

Accounts Receivable

Accounts receivable (AR) are the outstanding amounts owed to a business by its customers for goods or services provided on…

Price Promotion Strategy Jonathan Poland

Price Promotion Strategy

A price promotion is a marketing strategy that involves temporarily lowering the price of a product or service in order…

Key Employees Jonathan Poland

Key Employees

Key employees, or key personnel, are individuals who possess unique skills, knowledge, or connections that make their prolonged absence or…

Creative Services Jonathan Poland

Creative Services

Creative services refer to a range of services that involve the use of creativity and innovative thinking. These services often…

Turnaround Strategies Jonathan Poland

Turnaround Strategies

A turnaround strategy is a plan to rescue an organization, department, or team that is experiencing failure or underperforming. This…

Scaling 101 Jonathan Poland

Scaling 101

Scaling is the process of increasing the size, scope, or reach of a business, product, or service. This can involve…

Implementation Risk Jonathan Poland

Implementation Risk

Implementation risk refers to the potential negative consequences that a business may face as a result of difficulties or failures…

Content Database

Search over 1,000 posts on topics across
business, finance, and capital markets.

Employee Engagement Jonathan Poland

Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a measure of how motivated, committed, and involved an employee is in their work. Research has shown…

Research Design Jonathan Poland

Research Design

Research design is the overall plan or approach that a researcher follows in order to study a particular research question.…

Algorithmic Pricing Jonathan Poland

Algorithmic Pricing

Algorithmic pricing involves using automation to set prices dynamically based on a variety of factors, such as customer behavior, market…

Message Framing Jonathan Poland

Message Framing

Message framing is the way in which information and communications are constructed and presented. The way a message is framed…

Risk Mitigation Jonathan Poland

Risk Mitigation

Risk mitigation is the process of identifying, analyzing, and taking steps to reduce or eliminate risks to an individual or…

What is a Competitive Market? Jonathan Poland

What is a Competitive Market?

A competitive market is a type of market in which there are numerous buyers and sellers, and in which the…

Product Risk Jonathan Poland

Product Risk

Product risk refers to the potential for negative consequences that may result from the development, production, or use of a…

Product Category Jonathan Poland

Product Category

A product category is a classification of similar or related products or services. These categories are often created by a…

Corporate Reputation Jonathan Poland

Corporate Reputation

Corporate reputation refers to the collective perceptions or attitudes that various stakeholders, such as communities, customers, employees, partners, and regulators,…