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Dealing with Difficult People


1. Don't get Hooked !!!

When people behave towards you in a manner that makes youfeel angry, frustrated or annoyed - this is known as a Hook.

We can even become "Hooked" by the way people look, how theytalk, how they smell and even by their general demeanour.

If we take the bait then we are allowing the other person tocontrol our behaviour. This can then result in anunproductive response.

We have a choice whether we decided to get hooked or stayunhooked.

2. Don't let them get to you.

We often allow the other persons attitude to irritate orannoy us. This becomes obvious to the other person throughour tone of voice and our body language. This only fuels adifficult situation.

When dealing with difficult people, stay out of itemotionally and concentrate on listening non-defensively andactively. People may make disparaging and emotional remarks- don't rise to the bait!

3. Listen - listen - listen

Look and sound like you're listening. - When face-to-faceyou need to look interested, nod your head and keep good eyecontact. Over the 'phone - you need to make the occasional"Uh Hu - I See"

If the other person senses that you care and that you'reinterested in their problem, then they're likely to becomemore reasonable.

4. Get all the facts - write them down.

Repeat back (paraphrase) the problem to ensure yourunderstanding and to let the other person know that you arelistening.

5. Use names

A persons name is one of the warmest sounds they hear. Itsays that you have recognised them as an individual. It is important not to overdo it as it may come across aspatronising to the other person.Make sure they know your name and that you'll take ownershipfor the problem.

6. DON'T blame someone or something else.

7. Watch out for people's egos

" Don't interrupt

" Don't argue

" Don't jump in with solutions

" Allow them to let off steam

" Don't say, "Calm down".

8. See it from the other person's point of view

Too often we think the "difficult" person is making too muchfuss. We think - "What's the big deal; I'll fix it rightaway". It is a big deal for the other person and they wantyou to appreciate it.

You don't necessarily need to agree with the person howeveryou accept the fact that it's a problem for them.

9. Be very aware of your body language and tone of voice

We often exacerbate a situation without realising it. Ourtone of voice and our body language can often contradictwhat we're saying. We may be saying sorry however our toneand our body language may be communicating our frustrationand annoyance. People listen with their eyes and will setgreater credence on how you say something rather than whatyou say.

It's also important to use a warm tone of voice when dealingwith a difficult situation. This doesn't mean being "nicey-nicey" or behaving in a non-assertive manner.

10. Words to avoid

There are certain trigger words that can cause people tobecome more difficult especially in emotionally chargedsituations. These include:

"You have to" -

"But" -

"I want you to" -

"I need you to" -

"It's company policy" -

"I can't or You can't" -

"Jargon" or "Buzz" words -

"Sorry" -

"I'll try" -

11. Stop saying Sorry

Sorry is an overused word, everyone says it when somethinggoes wrong and it has lost its value.

How often have you heard - "Sorry 'bout that, give me thedetails and I'll sort this out for you." Far better to say -"I apologise for ?."

And if you really need to use the "sorry" word, make sure toinclude it as part of a full sentence. "I'm sorry youhaven't received that information as promised Mr Smith."(Again, it's good practise to use the person's name).

There are other things you can say instead of sorry -

12. Empathise

The important thing to realise when dealing with a difficultperson is to:

Deal with their feelings - then deal with their problem.

Using empathy is an effective way to deal with a person'sfeelings. Empathy isn't about agreement, only acceptance ofwhat the person is saying and feeling. Basically the messageis - "I understand how you feel."

Obviously this has to be a genuine response, the person willrealise if you're insincere and they'll feel patronised.

Examples of an empathy response would be - "I can understandthat you're angry," or "I see what you mean." Again, theseresponses need to be genuine.

13. Build Rapport

Sometimes it's useful to add another phrase to the empathyresponse, including yourself in the picture. - "I canunderstand how you feel, I don't like it either when thathappens to me" This has the effect of getting on the otherpersons side and builds rapport.

Some people get concerned when using this response, as theybelieve it'll lead to "Well why don't you do something aboutit then."The majority of people won't respond this way if theyrealise that you are a reasonable and caring person. If theydo, then continue empathising and tell the person whatyou'll do about the situation.

14. Under promise - over deliver

Whatever you say to resolve a situation, don't make a rodfor your own back. We are often tempted in a difficultsituation to make promises that are difficult to keep. Wesay things like - "I'll get this sorted this afternoon andphone you back." It may be difficult to get it sorted "thisafternoon". Far better to say - "I'll get this sorted bytomorrow lunchtime." Then phone them back that afternoon orearly the next morning and they'll think you're great.

You don't win them all

Remember, everyone gets a little mad from time to time, andyou won't always be able to placate everyone, - there's nomagic formula. However, the majority of people in this worldare reasonable people and if you treat them as such, thenthey're more likely to respond in a positive manner.

Some more thoughts

These notes are primarily designed to help deal withdifficult people when we have made a mistake. We often haveto deal with other people where we have not made a mistakehowever the people we're dealing with often prove to bedifficult and unwilling to accept what we say.

We therefore need to demonstrate assertive behaviour thathelps us communicate clearly and confidently our needs,wants and feelings to other people without abusing in anyway their human rights.

Some books to read

A Woman in Your Own Right - Anne Dickson

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway - Susan Jeffers

Irresistibility - Philippa Davis

Why Men don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps - Allan & Barbara Pease

Alan Fairweather is the author of four ebooks in the "Howto get More Sales" series. Lots of practical actions youcan take to build your business and motivate your team.-http://www.howtogetmoresales.com


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