Dealing with Difficult People
Dealing with difficult and angry people is not an easy task. Yet with all the anxiety, frustration and fears surrounding covid-19, it is only logical to assume that this is a problem we will be confronted with on a business as well as personal level.
Below are some strategies that will make it possible to shorten such an encounter. You may even have a better result.
1: Empathize with the person, not the problem. When you acknowledge the emotions that a person is experiencing surrounding a situation, you accomplish three things.
- You let the other person know that you are listening.
- You communicate to them that you are genuinely concerned.
- You create the beginnings of rapport.
2: Pay attention to the speaker’s exact words. And then, using their exact words, repeat the problem back to them exactly as they stated it. Raise your voice slightly at the end of your statement as if you are asking a question. And you are asking a question. You are asking them to let you know whether they think that you have fully understood the problem. Remember to be genuinely curious. When you are genuinely curious they will hear it in your voice.
When you do this, you give the other person, the opportunity to go inside and reflect on what is really bothering them.
If the words you repeated back to them clearly express the problem from their perspective, they will begin to feel heard and start to relax.
However, the real problem is often not what they stated on the surface. There is often something else behind it. If this is the case, this communication allows them to go inside and realize that the real problem is something other than what they had expressed, maybe something they weren’t even aware of.
When you repeat their exact words back to them with genuine curiosity, they will either agree with their own words or they may say something like “No. That’s not really the problem. It’s this”. Now you are getting at the real problem behind the surface problem.
So, using this technique may prevent you from trying to solve the wrong problem as well as give you additional information to work with.
What you have read so far in this article may seem somewhat simplistic. You might already be doing some of the things we discussed. But if you incorporate all of the things described in this article exactly as suggested, you may be quite surprised at the difference in your results.
Following the steps above exactly as written will increase rapport with your employees, your employer, your co-workers, your clients or your customers.
What is rapport? Rapport is a level of affinity or mutual trust as in a friendship. Building rapport with the people you work around builds strong interpersonal relationships, solves a lot of problems, and opens new doors of opportunity for you.
There are many additional ways to develop rapport with your employees, employer, co-workers and customers as well as your family, friends, and romantic interests. We will try to cover more ways to build rapport in coming articles.
Cynthia Becker teaches how to build rapport and other powerful communication techniques in her private phone sessions with clients like you.