How to Handle the Emotionally Charged Conversation

Today’s guest blogger is Dr. Marcia Reynolds, president of Covisioning LLC.

When I teach coaching skills to leaders, someone always asks what to do if a person cries. They usually want to do something that would make the person feel worse for crying. Here are tips for effectively handling emotions that could come up during difficult conversations.

Note: Take the Rate Your Zone of Discomfort quiz to judge your ability to deal with uncomfortable situations.

What if the person cries?  

Allow people to take a moment as you calmly wait for them to signal they are ready to move on.

Crying is a natural physiological response when someone feels hurt, sad, or had expectations that weren’t met. Their reaction could result from stress or a buildup of disappointments. Generally, if you tell the person to take her time and calmly sit in silence, she will let you know when she is ready to move on (I say “she” but men cry too). If you have a tissue available, offer it. If the crying is uncontrollable, ask if they would like to reschedule the meeting but only do this as a last resort. It is always better to give the crying person a moment to recoup than to make her feel wrong for crying.

How do you react when someone gets angry?

If you stay calm and listen, their anger usually subsides.

When you sense someone’s anger, you might instantly defend yourself, getting angry in return, or you shut down. If you feel you are at risk of being harmed, you should find a way to remove yourself as soon as possible. If not, give the person a chance to vent to release the steam. Then when he starts to calm down, ask what has made him so angry and sort out what is true from speculation. Then maybe you can find some ways of dealing with the situation so he regains even a small sense of control.

What if a person or a group of people are confused or afraid?

Dig deep to find what they are afraid of losing.

Do not try to diffuse or soften their emotions; better to tell them you would like to understand what is causing the fear so you can help them move forward. What do they feel they have lost or afraid they will lose? Listen to their stories so you can discover what is holding them back. Is the loss real or speculation? What do they need so they can take one step forward? Listen first, then seek to find what will restore their confidence and feeling of significance.

Avoid judging people for their reactions. Respectfully hold them in high regard during a difficult conversation. Recall what you believe they are capable of achieving. From this perspective, you have a chance at holding an amazing conversation that could surprise both of you.

To hear more about effective ways to handle difficult conversations, join us for our Soundview Live webinar with Marcia Reynolds on May 28th: Turning Difficult Conversations into Breakthroughs.

Don‘t Leave Home Without Them

In Frances Cole Jones’ book How to Wow, she include a set of techniques that every business person should know and use every day.

1. Three elements of Face-to-Face Communication – 7% words, 38% tone of voice and 55% body language.
2. The Power of Story Telling – speak from your own experience while acknowledging your listener’s situation.
3. My Name is Bond – say your name with such panache that the listener will remember it.
4. Avoid Useless Modifiers – use descriptive words instead of empty modifiers.
5. The All-Important Diaphragm – speak from your diaphragm to give your voice more authority.
6. Persuasive Words – the number one word is “You.” Focus your communication on the listener. Also: Money, Save, New, Results, Health, Easy, Safety, Love, Discover, Proven and Guarantee.
7. What to Wear – from your clothes, to your shoes, to your watch, it’s all important to consider.
8. Nerves – the nerves in your neck affect your nervousness. Bend over and let your head hang free, and your nervousness will dissipate.
9. Listen Up – it’s not hearing, or waiting to talk, or zoning out because you think you already know what they’re going to say. Instead, listen to find out.
10. More Isn’t Better, Better Is Better – concise is often the best.
11. Because, because… – you need to fill in your listening on the “because”, not just give them the solutions.
12. Entrances and Exits – be aware of the entrance into a situation and the exit from it, the technology guy with your microphone, and bus person with the glass of water. It all matters.
13. Two is One, and One is None – have extra of the things you need to communicate, to avoid Murphy’s Law.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the hands-on tips and techniques that Jones has collected over her years of communicating with others. We will be tapping into her vast knowledge of personal communication through our upcoming Soundview Live webinar Proven Strategies for Selling Yourself in Any Situation on January 6th. Register today and mark your calendar. It will be well worth an hour of your time.

Book Review: Pitch Perfect

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by Bill McGowan and
Alisa Bowman

Effective communication is at the core of professional success. The difference between signing a deal or losing an account is how you communicate your message. It is important to be pitch perfect, precisely the right tone to the right person, to advance in your career. Renowned media coach Bill McGowan, along with journalist Alisa Bowman, show how to communicate with confidence during the pivotal moments of life in Pitch Perfect. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

“Holding your audience’s attention is like winning a tennis match at Wimbledon. You better have a clearly defined strategy, execute it brilliantly and muzzle any inner voice of self-doubt, or you’ll get crushed,” write McGowan and Bowman. They offer Seven Principles of Persuasion to construct the right message and deliver it using the right language, verbally and nonverbally. These principles are based upon years of McGowan’s experience communicating and succeeding via multiple mediums. Of the seven, the Scorsese Principle discusses keeping your audience engaged with visual aids to illustrate your story. This principle is based upon Martin Scorcese and his ability to tell stories that listeners can visualize. Images are more memorable than words, so in order to capture and hold the attention of your audience, you need to illustrate your point with stories they can imagine.

McGowan and Bowman share how to get people to remember what you have said. Executives will learn how to overcome common mistakes and implement a better way of communicating using effective verbal and nonverbal language with Pitch Perfect.

Book Review: How the World Sees You

How_the_World_Sees_You

by Sally Hogshead

In the professional world, you need to set yourself apart from the crowd to make a great first impression. You already know how you see yourself. However, do you know how the world sees you? According to Sally Hogshead in How the World Sees You, once you know what makes you valuable to others, you are more able to make a positive impression. Hogshead presents a systematic method to describe yourself in just two or three words. Readers will gain why it is necessary to know their highest value and how to discover it. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

“As conversations become more compressed and the marketplace more crowded, you need to know how others see you and respond to you. Rather than just knowing your strengths, you need to know your differences,” writes Hogshead. She explains there are seven Fascination Advantages to communicate successfully. Each Advantage has a different approach to fascinating others and building relationships. Knowing your primary Advantage will help you intentionally apply it to communicate more effectively. Once you can tap into your Advantage, you’ll become more valuable to colleagues and/or clients leading to more success.

Beyond finding out what your advantage is, you will also learn how to construct your Anthem. Your Anthem is the tagline for your personality to use as your mission statement or to captivate your audience. Much like a company’s tagline, your Anthem will tell others what makes you unique from others. With How the World Sees You, professionals at every level will increase their ability to communicate messages and develop relationships effectively and confidently.

Book Review: The Road to Reinvention

by Josh Linkner

by Josh Linkner

The most successful companies, brands, and individuals constantly are reinventing as a part of their business strategies. Organizations and people fail when they become stagnant in their prior success and do not evolve. In The Road to Reinvention, Josh Linkner offers managers the tools to reinvent your business or yourself continually that will become a competitive advantage in challenging times. This book is now available as a Soundview Executive Book Summary.

“Study any supremely successful organization or individual, from Nike to 3M or from Madonna to Tom Hanks, and you’ll encounter a consistent theme: an ethos of reinvention whose principles embody the disruptive mindset,” writes Linkner. He identifies eight principles of the reinvention ethos for creating deliberate, productive disruption. The first principle is letting go of the past and explains that if you become stale in your past success this will suppress your imagination, which is a recipe for disaster. The other seven principles are encourage courage, embrace failure, do the opposite, imagine the possibilities, put yourself out of business, reject limits, and aim beyond. If you practice these principles, you will develop a more innovative way of thinking which is necessary to lead change.

Beyond solid methods and systematic techniques, you will learn guiding principles for rejecting the status quo and repeatedly reinventing your organization and career for continued success. In addition, there are inspiring examples of reinvention by people who soared over their competition. With The Road to Reinvention, executives can secure a strong future for both your company and your career.