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Ad Lib
A little tact

 

Ad Lib

A little tact...

Tact is the skill of getting your point across—especially one that is challenging to the audience—without evoking a response driven by pride, defensiveness, or other negative emotions. For me, using tact is a daily occurrence and a fundamental technique; it keeps communication open. In its simplest form, tact is the careful choice of words. At certain critical moments, it can mean the difference between an early settlement and lengthy, expensive, and risky litigation.
DOUG HARTNETT ’83, lawyer

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The arrivals and departures of our numerous summer visitors sent me to a manners Web site to look up the polite length of stay. I ran across the following: “Tact is the art of making guests feel at home when that’s where you wish they were.” Indeed!
PHIL BOSHOFF, associate professor of English

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Conversations with students and families about admissions often focus on aspects of the selection process that can be emotional and awkward to address: “Why wasn’t I accepted?” “I need more financial aid—why won’t you give
it to me?” Even when the answer isn’t what they want to hear, if we handle the dialogue with tact, they come away feeling positive about Skidmore and how they were treated.
MARY LOU BATES, dean of admissions

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I’ve performed stand-up three times. The first time my son and daughter were there. But the last two times I invited
no one I knew, so I told about my hip surgery and the sex do’s and don’ts I was sent by the doctor. It would show no tact to say this in front of my thirty-four- and thirty-one-year-old kids; no one ever wants to visualize their parents having sex.
CAROLYN BROWN STRAKER ’59, budding stand-up comedian


PICK YOUR OWN. What concept would you like to ad lib about? If there’s a topic you’d like to see addressed in this column, send an e-mail to srosenbe@skidmore.edu.