Who hasn’t come face-to-face with a
churlish client, a belligerent boss or an acrimonious attendee?
Roberta Cava, author of Dealing with Difficult People (www.cavaconsulting.com), says not to bother
negotiating with anyone who has completely “lost it.” For everyone
else, she offers the following tips for cooling them down.
Take a time-out. This gives both
parties some valuable time to think things over, begin to calm down
and rationally assess the situation.
Pay attention to your body. Break the
inner tension: Take a series of deep, calming breaths if the
complainant has triggered the “fight-or-flight” instinct in
Repeat after him. Paraphrase what the
other person says. This lets the person know you’re listening.
Be willing to negotiate. “Learning to
deal with difficult people involves learning how to manage your
side of a two-way transaction,” notes Cava. If you won’t budge, the
other person probably won’t, either.