In a recent “Calming Upset Customers” seminar, I explained why people go ballistic when angry.
“When we’re upset, we behave from our emotions and have cut off all rational thinking. A rational person would think, ‘How can I best accomplish my communication goal?’ It would not be by yelling or cursing at the person who can possibly find a solution.”
Afterward, the participants’ discussion made me realize that few people think about a communication strategy before they open their mouths. Most people just spew forth whatever crosses their mind, with little or no thinking or filter — especially when upset.
How can you not fall prey to this predisposition? How can you be more cognizant of your communication goal so you don’t get caught in emotional triggers?
- Before entering what you think may become a contentious situation, take a moment to remind yourself what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself, “What is the best strategy for accomplishing my communication goal?”
- If you have any history of raising your voice, cursing, or becoming argumentative, ask yourself, “How can I not get triggered and become emotional?” Perhaps you need to remind yourself to breathe, pause before responding, ask questions before reacting, and ask for the other person’s help.
- If you find yourself getting angry say something like, “I’m getting frustrated. I’d like to escalate this to your manager before this conversation gets heated.” Or if with a coworker, “I can feel myself getting tense which diminishes rational thinking. I’d like to take a few minutes to collect my thoughts and then resume this discussion.”
By thinking through your communication goals and creating a strategy, you are more likely to have a satisfying interaction. Even if you don’t get what you want, you know you’ve behaved maturely and haven’t embarrassed yourself nor unthinkingly berated someone else.
If you’d like to discuss how I could help improve your staff’s communication or customer service skills, give me a call.