Positive Communication Tips When We are Stressed
Every day we encounter frustrating situations. We may feel disrespected, insulted or treated unfairly by people we need to interact with.
For example, you have been waiting for over an hour for a scheduled doctor’s appointment. You feel powerless sitting in a packed waiting room and get the sense that the staff thinks your time is worthless. You want to walk out but you have waited this long and you don’t feel well; you know you need some medicine.
Or the salesperson at the store is busy talking with co-workers rather than expediting your sales transaction.
The contractor said he would start at 8 am but shows up every day at 10 am with a variety of excuses for being late.
Positive communication skills during these times can help achieve a positive outcome.
1. Remain calm. The more level-headed and business-like you are, the more likely you are to receive a positive result.
2. Get to the point. Ask for what you want or express your disappointment concisely and clearly.
3. Be polite; don’t rage or curse.
4. If possible, find a private place to speak, shaming a person publicly will only be humiliating for them and it is less likely they will be willing to help you in the end.
5. Remind them you are on the same team. For example, with your doctor, you may want to say, “I have been coming to you for five years because of your superior diagnostic skills, however the waiting time today was problematic for me”. How can we work together so this does not happen again".
6. Focus on the actions that are unacceptable, do not personalize it or criticize the person’s character.
7. Listen to what they want to say during the conversation. If you want to be listened to, model the same behavior. Don’t be patronizing.
8. As difficult as it maybe, smile a bit or use humor to get your point across. It is a much easier to look at a smile or hear a person joke around particularly under the most intense interactions.
9. Finally, if the person you are speaking with is not paying attention to you or you see they are incapable of hearing you, ask for their supervisor or a manager. Do not waste your efforts on someone who does not have the power or capacity to resolve your complaint.