Have you ever had someone or something hold you back from a very important task? How do you deal with people who are very nice but seem to be dragging their feet on your important issues?
Do you let it go until the frustration and emotion gets too much and you blow? Or are you reactive, quickly getting angry at the person you are dealing with and even raising your voice?
Below is a quick guide to dealing with those difficult people or situations.
The first thing
We really need to do in these situations is plan our conversations, as this prevents us from being taken away in another direction from our real objective. Work out what we need by the end of the conversation (our agenda and objectives, don’t forget our contingencies too). Write these down and refer to them throughout the conversation.
…make sure we are dealing with the right person. If the person we are speaking to can not make the necessary decisions for us to achieve our objectives, then we need to go up the chain of command to reach the decision maker, otherwise we will end up completely frustrated and very emotional.
If we can not speak to the right person at that time, make sure we leave the conversation with at least their name and contact details so we can speak directly to them later.
We need to allow the person we are dealing with to have their say completely and without interruption. If something occurs to us, then write it down so we don’t forget, but don’t interrupt! Listen carefully. Check they have completed what they want to say and then rephrase in summary what we believe they are saying. Again, check with them that our summary is right. If they correct our summary, then repeat the rephrase/summary process until we have a full understanding of the situation from the other person’s point of view.
Now we explain in detail our own situation:
…both the facts and the impact on our life, practically and emotionally. The key is to ask them to put themselves into our situation and then fire the bullet questions at them: “How would you feel in this situation?” and “What would you expect in this situation?” Let them answer the question – silence is golden at this time. Most people will try to avoid answering these questions by saying something like “I know it can’t be easy” or “I’m sorry, it must be really difficult”. This is not answering the question. So re-state our question until they really put themselves into our shoes and answer the question we’ve asked.
It’s time to get what we came for!
They are now in the position of owing us due to their lack of results – so ask them what they are now willing to do for us. If they don’t suggest what we need, that’s when we suggest what they can now do for us (propose our objectives) after all we have been through.
When we take time to plan out our objectives, we will usually always get a better result than we were expecting.
Remember the times we have planned out a difficult situation in our heads: what someone might say, what we would say in return, how the whole conversation might go?
In this situation, what usually happens is that the conversation doesn’t go according to plan…it goes much better than we would ever have imagined! They don’t say what we were expecting…they say just what we wanted to hear! We feel much better for having the conversation, although we didn’t really want to have it in the first place. And how did we achieve this success? It’s simple – Planning!
Here’s your Quick Guide Checklist.
Print out, cut around perforations, keep it close, and use it to deal with your difficult situations every day.
Quick Guide Checklist – Difficult situations
- Plan your agenda and objectives
- Stay positive and calm
- Speak to the decision maker
- Listen carefully to the other person’s point of view and check for understanding
- Explain the situation and ask for what you need
- Finish off the conversation with a thank you!