Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Body language’

How to Get Your Message Across – Show How You Feel

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Do you ever get the impression that people are not really listening to you or understanding what you’re saying? It Managerdoesn’t matter if it’s face to face or in a more formal speech or presentation.

Most people are not particularly good listeners. They are easily distracted and interrupted by other stuff going on in their brain.

They might be tired, in a hurry, confused, physically uncomfortable, don’t understand your jargon, or maybe just thinking about what they will say next.

So if you want to get your message across, then it’s important to take into account all of these points. And it’s also important to ensure you are making the best of your speaking skills.

The problem is that, the words you use, although essential, can be contradicted by your tone of voice and your body language.

Many people are now familiar with the results of research conducted by Dr Albert Mehrabian. This tell us that the impact of a message is dependent 7% on the words we use, 38% on tone and a whacking great 55% on body language.

I’ve read articles that take issue with these figures, suggesting that words are more important and have greater impact than Dr Mehrabian suggests.

I wouldn’t be prepared to put any figures on these three aspects of communication, however, I am totally convinced that how you look and how you sound are far more important than what you say.

Recently I conducted a one to one training session in selling skills for a director of a small computer software company. A video camera was used to record this director’s sale pitch to a potential customer, a role played by me.

When I replayed this recording, my director client was horrified to watch his presentation. In his pitch he used words such as, ‘Young exciting company – staff with lots of enthusiasm for their product – lots of energy and passion for what they are doing.’

The only thing was that he, the person in the video, had about as much excitement, enthusiasm, energy and passion as a plate of cold porridge.

He was saying the words but they just weren’t convincing. He was dull monotone and boring, and he knew it. The good thing was, that once he’d realized it, he could do something about it.

On occasion people say to me. ‘I am as I am; I’m a quieter sort of person. I can’t leap up and down and get excited about something even though I feel it inside.’

My answer to these people is, ‘Don’t change your personality but do make a slight change to your behavior. Turn up the energy a little bit, put a bit more power in the enthusiasm, and warm up the passion just a tad more.

If you were to ask these same people about their football team, their children or their hobby, then just watch them get fired up or at least get a little bit warmer.

One quiet unassuming chap held me spellbound one day telling me about his hobby of beekeeping. It wasn’t so much what he was saying but how he was describing it. His eyes were shining, he was speaking quickly and he was using his hands to describe this subject which he had now made very interesting.

So if you want to get your message across to your employees, your customers or your colleagues, then show more of how you feel.

Other people will respond more to your feelings than to what you actually say.

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How to Use Secret Language to Influence Others

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I’m sure you’ve heard many times that it’s not what you say that influences other people but more how you say it.women said, woman listening to gossip

Non-verbal communication is so powerful and we can use it much more to our advantage; this doesn’t mean in a manipulative way but more in a way that builds rapport with your team members.

People buy people first and they tend to buy people who are very much like themselves. Now, you can’t become exactly like one of your customers or a member of your staff. However, you can make slight adjustments to your behavior which will build rapport and improve communication.

Let’s say that you have a fairly strong voice or you speak fairly quickly.

If you’re communicating with a customer or someone in your team who has a soft voice’ or another team member who speaks slowly, then they may feel you’re a much different person from them and they may even feel intimidated. The obvious answer is to either talk with a soft voice or speak more slowly.

This is a technique is know as mirroring and it basically means behaving as closely as you can to the other person. Speak at the same level they do, speak at the same speed and with the same tone. This doesn’t mean mimicking the other person – this would quickly switch them right off you. It’s about subtlety becoming more like the other person.

Why do we not grow up speaking like children?

You can also learn to mirror words and phrases, posture, eye contact, facial expression and hand gestures. Some people say they feel uncomfortable doing this; however, they often mirror people unconsciously. Just watch someone talking to a small child or a baby. They crouch down to the child’s level, they put a soft smile on their face and they talk in a childlike way.

If we can do it with children, then we can do it with adults particularly if you want them to accept you and what you say.

 

 

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14 Steps to Deal with Employee Concerns

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When you spend time with your people then it’s inevitable that that you’ll hear about their concerns and problems. Fotolia_2600705_M1These could be on a human level; however they’re more likely to be on a business level.

Whether it’s a human or a business problem, the same rules apply.

1. Don’t get hooked

Don’t react to a concern. It’s very easy to react with – ‘Here we go again, the same old moans and groans. They’re always on about this and there’s nothing I can do.’

If you react this way, then it’ll show on your face and in your tone of voice. The team member then thinks – ‘What’s the point; he’s not interested in my problems, why should I bother.’

Get into thinking mode and stay out of it emotionally. Concentrate on listening non-defensively and actively. If the team member makes disparaging and emotional remarks – don’t rise to the bait.

2. Listen – listen – listen

Look and sound like you’re listening. When face to face you need to look interested, nod your head and keep good eye contact. Over the phone you need to make the occasional ‘Uh-Huh – I see.’

I’ve seen managers, when faced with a problem from a team member, start to do something else, like work on the computer. And I’ve heard them say – ‘It’s okay, I can do two things at once, I can listen to you and work on the computer.’ Maybe you can, but the message your team member gets is – ‘My problem isn’t that important, my manager just isn’t interested.’

When you’re spending time with your people you need to give them your full attention. You need to look them in the eye, concentrate on them and make them feel that what they say is important and deserves your attention

3. Write it down

As well as looking interested in your team member’s concern, it’s a good idea to write it down. I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking – ‘I’ll remember that when I get back to the office and I’ll check on it.’ However, one person I was with said – ‘You wont do anything about that Alan because you wont remember it.’ From that point on I wrote things down.

4. Repeat back

It’s also a good idea to paraphrase what the team member has said to ensure your understanding and let them know you’ve been listening

5. Use names

It may seem like a simple thing but it’s very important. You could say in response to a concern – ‘I’ll speak to the accounts department about that.’

It would be far better to say – ‘I’ll speak to the accounts department about that Susan, thank you for bringing it to my attention.’

A person’s name is one of the warmest sounds they ever hear. It says – ‘I recognize you as an individual.’

However, I suggest you don’t overdo it as it may come across as patronizing.

6. Take ownership

This is the same as dealing with an external customer. Your team members do not want to hear you say – ‘That’s nothing to do with me, that’s the sales departments fault.’ Do not blame someone or something else. It may be the responsibility of the sales department but it needs to be explained in a logical and factual wa

7. Watch out for people’s ego

If your team member is really wound up about something, let them get it off their chest. Don’t interrupt and don’t argue. Don’t jump in with solutions and try to solve the problem then and there. And for goodness sake, don’t ever say – ‘Calm down.’

8. See it from their point of vie

You might find it hard to understand what they’re on about; however put yourself in their shoes. If you were doing their job every day, how would you feel? You might even think that their concern is something fairly trivial and you think – ‘What’s the big deal, I’ll fix it right away.’

It is a big deal for the team member and they want you to appreciate it.

You don’t necessarily need to agree with them; however you need to accept the fact that it’s a problem for them

9. Be very aware of your body language and voice ton

We often exacerbate a situation without realizing it. Our tone of voice and our body language can often contradict what we’re saying. We may be saying ‘sorry’ however our tone and our body language may be communicating our frustration and annoyance. People listen with their eyes and will set greater credence on how you say something rather than what you say.

It’s also important to use a warm tone of voice when dealing with a team member’s problem. This doesn’t mean being ‘nicey-nicey’ or behaving in a non assertive manner. It’s about showing that you’re interested in what they’re saying and that you care

10. Words to avoid

The wrong tone of voice and body language can cause problems to get worse. However, using the wrong words can also cause problems. There are certain “trigger” words that cause people to become more difficult especially in emotionally charged situations and they should be avoided. These include:

Have to, as in – ‘You’ll have to speak to sales department yourself.’

I can’t or you can’t, as in – ‘I can’t do anything about that’ or ‘You can’t do that.’

I’ll try, as in ‘I’ll try and speak to finance department today.’

But, as in – ‘I agree with what you’re saying but……..’

Sorry, as in – ‘I’m sorry ‘bout that.’

Instead of the words ‘have to’ which are very controlling type words, why not try – ‘John, are you willing to…’ or just a straight ‘John, will you….’

Can’t, can be replaced with – ‘I’m unable to because….

‘I’ll try,’ which is pretty wishy-washy, can be replaced with something more honest – ‘This is what I can do Mary’ or ‘This is what I’m unable to do.’

‘But’ is a word that contradicts what was said before it, replace it with – ‘And’ or ‘However’ (which is a soft ‘but’) Instead of saying ‘but’ you could leave it out altogether.

For example; instead of – ‘I agree with what you’re saying but I can’t help you, use – ‘I agree with what you’re saying. The reason I’m unable to help you is……’

At the end of the day the answer to the team member could be ‘no’ however, choosing your words more carefully will have a more positive affect on how he or she reacts and ultimately responds to you.

‘Sorry’ is one of the words to avoid because it is so overused and it’s lost its value. Think of the number of times you’ve complained or commented about something and you hear – ‘Sorry ‘bout that.’  If you’re going to use the ‘sorry’ word then you need to use it as part of a whole sentence. ‘Susan, I’m sorry you’ve been receiving so many complaints.’

Sometimes it’s appropriate to use the word ‘apologize’ instead of ‘sorry.’ ‘Linda, I apologize for not getting you that information sooner.’

There are other things you can say instead of ‘sorry,’ you can empathize.

11. Deal with their feelings, and then deal with their problem

Using empathy is a very effective way to deal with a person’s feelings. Empathy isn’t about agreement, only acceptance of what the team member is saying and feeling. Basically the message is – ‘I understand how you feel.’ 

This really has to be a genuine response, the person will realize if you’re insincere and they’ll feel patronized.

Examples of empathy would be – ‘Chris, I can understand that you’re angry,’ or ‘I see what you mean.’ Again these responses need to be genuine.

12. Build rapport

Sometimes it’s useful to add another phrase to the empathy response, including yourself in the picture – ‘I can understand how you feel Colin, I don’t like that either when it happens to me.’ This has the effect of getting on the team members side and builds rapport.

Some people get concerned when using this response; they believe it’ll lead to – ‘Well why don’t you do something about it then?’

The majority of your team won’t respond this way if they realize that you are a reasonable and caring person. If they do then continue empathizing and tell the individual what you’ll do about the situation.

13. Under promise, over deliver

Whatever way you respond to a team member’s problem, do not make a rod for your own back. It’s often tempting in a difficult situation to make promises that are difficult to keep.

We say things like – ‘I’ll get this sorted this afternoon Paul and I’ll phone you back.’ It may be extremely difficult to get it sorted this afternoon.

Far better to say – ‘I’ll get this sorted by tomorrow afternoon Paul.’ Then phone Paul back the same afternoon or early the next morning and he’ll think you’re great.

14. You don’t win them all

Remember, everyone gets a little mad from time to time and you won’t always be able to placate or resolve your team member’s problem; there’s no magic formula. However the majority of people in this world are reasonable people, and if you treat them as such, then they’re more likely to respond in a positive manner.

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10 Tips to Talk With Anyone and Make an Impact

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1. Respect. I often hear people say ‘That person has to earn my respect.’ I suggest you give respect to everyone right from the start. That puts you in a positive frame of mind. If after getting to know that person you feel differently, perhaps you should try to see the world the way they see it.

2. Smile. When meeting someone for the first time, hold back the smile for a few seconds. Then when you smile it makes you appear more genuine.

3. Observe. Watch the person you are speaking to. How are they reacting to you? What does their body language tell you? Match that body language and the tone and volume of their voice.

4. Keep good eye contact. Don’t stare into their eyes and make them uncomfortable. Look away slowly now and again.

5. Focus. Keep the spotlight shining on the other person. Use the word ‘You’ more often than you use the word ‘I’ or ‘We.’

6. Knowledge. Be aware of what is going on the world. Take an interest in everything. Even if you know a little about a subject, it oils the wheels of conversation. I rarely buy a newspaper, but subscribe to a weekly magazine called The Week; that summarises all the articles of interest from newspapers and media throughout the world.

7. Bite your tongue. It has been said that people are either speaking or waiting to speak. When someone starts to talk about something or a place that you know about, resist the temptation to jump in!

8. Listen to the words. People are either auditory, visually or kinaesthetically driven. They will use words like – ‘I like the sound of that’ or ‘I like the look of that’ or ‘I like the feel of that. Echo that language back to them and it will build rapport.

9. Casually compliment. Slip in a genuine compliment now and again and move on quickly.

10. Say thank you. Remember your manners and always thank people for a compliment or for something they will do for you. Not – ‘Thanks’ but – ‘Thank you for the compliment, I appreciate it.’

If you would prefer to listen to this article and download it to your MP3 player, please go here.

Extract from: How to Make Sales when You Don’t Like Sellling

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