It's very easy to respond to aggression with aggression... but what if we reacted differently?
Alan was out shopping one weekend and couldn’t find a car park anywhere. Since he would only be a few minutes he decided to take a risk and park across the driveway of the business next door to the shop he was visiting.
When he returned to his car, Alan found one very angry business owner, shouting and swearing at him for blocking the driveway and preventing access to his business.
At first Alan was taken aback. His usual reaction would be to fire a rebuttal straight back at the guy. That would have led to a shouting match and he would have driven off in a rage, even though it was his fault the guy was upset in the first place.
But Alan didn’t do that. Instead he remembered the key message from the first session of the TUF workshop he did the week before:
"Acknowledge the Emotion"
Instead of yelling back at the business owner, Alan acknowledged and validated the reason for his aggression. "I guess it must be pretty frustrating having people park here all the time, I'm really sorry".
Surprisingly for Alan, it worked! He was amazed how quickly the guy calmed down. "It was almost instant" Alan exclaimed during the second workshop session a couple of days later.
“I didn’t really believe it when you told us this last week but I can see that it really does work”.
"Never in the history of calming down, has anyone ever calmed down by being told to calm down"
As with any new way of thinking, a little scepticism is normal, but the proof is in the results. The simple task of acknowledging the feelings of an aggressor, complainant or simply a difficult customer could be the difference between an escalating situation and a peaceful resolution.
Try it! and share your successes with us here at TUF.
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People buy on emotion. Relationships are based on emotion. What do you do when someone is really emotional? It might be a customer, staff member or spouse who gets upset. You want to calm them down so you can deal with the business issues at hand. Many people think that by being reasonable they can communicate best. However, the other person is not rational in this moment, they are emotional. When someone is emotional they are feeling a great deal and they are expressing this to you. They want to be acknowledged, seen, and heard in this moment of distress. If you make your first response to them an acknowledgement of their feelings you will go a long way to building a strong business relationship. This acknowledgment may be as simple as “Oh dear, I’m sorry that XYZ has happened” or “This has been a real nuisance for you, hasn’t it” or “Wow, I am sorry, I didn’t realise how much it has affected you” or even “Bugger!” (said in a caring kind of way). Don’t rush on with more words, pause to let what you have said sink in and give time for them to respond before going for the ‘fix it’ part of your response.