Listen up … even when you don’t want to. It happens to the best of us. You’re in a meeting presenting your project updates, you feel in control and confident, and then it starts. The peppering of questions. The barrage of complaints. The aggressive body language. It spirals into a frenzy and others around the table start chiming in with their two cents worth. Perhaps even your own teammates add fuel to the fire. The result? You feel attacked.
It’s difficult to maintain composure under such circumstances, wouldn’t you agree Marion? It all begins with how you think, what you say and what you do. Here’s a few tips to get you on your way, and to regain the composure and control that really belongs to you. I call it the “LUVSTM” approach and it stands for “Listen, Understand, Validate, Solve”. Here’s how it works.
- LISTEN UP.
People want to be heard. Sometimes people start pumping up the volume, animating the gestures and increasing the forcefulness of their language, simply because they feel they aren’t being heard. So listen. When you actively listen, you allow people to express themselves and yes, to vent. Strip out the emotion and hear the questions and concern they’re really asking. What’s at the crux of their frustration? If you have information that will allay their concerns, give it to them. Answer their questions.
As difficult as it might be, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Ask yourself why they might be feeling that way. You might not agree with it, you might respond a completely different way, but there’s always a reason why people feel and behave the way they do. Find theirs.
Let me be clear here — validating people’s concern doesn’t mean that you agree with them. It’s simply acknowledging that you understand and appreciate how or why someone would think the way he or she does. The thinking may be horribly flawed, not make sense, and not serve the person well — it simply underpins the words and actions of that person. To validate a concern can be as simple as actively listening. Or, it can be saying things like, “I can see why it might appear that way”, or “I see”.
Lots of energy is spent by someone being aggressive. Take that energy and re-channel it to solving problems. Focus on the overall goals. Raise the conversation to a higher ground and perspective. Look at the “big picture” and what this person (and perhaps you also) really wants to accomplish. Spend your limited energy and theirs on finding solutions.
When you feel attacked, it’s difficult to be rational. However, if you really value or need that relationship, let your head rule. Listen, validate, understand, and solve, and you’ll find that often aggression will give way to cooperation. Go ahead, and give it a try–the world could do with a little more LUVSTM.
© 2011-2019 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
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