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Don't look back in anger

Don’t look back in anger

Last week I gave advice to a client ahead of a difficult conversation at work.

She was worried she was going to get angry, or maybe even cry in the face of confrontation and negative feedback.

She was also concerned she would let herself down by not being able to communicate her point clearly under pressure.

We worked on a range of strategies to help her through.

In particular, we focussed on how to receive feedback without shooting the messenger by being curious and asking for specific examples. She was to listen to understand, not to respond, and in the process make her colleagues own their allegations and back up their claims, rather than allowing them to make sweeping generalisations.

I also had her dot point what she wanted to say to support her position and then go through the list and delete any of the emotion-charged statements not backed by fact.

If she did delve into perception, she had to lead with an ‘I’ statement to show she understood this was her point of view and not necessarily what others thought.

As is often the case, once she deleted the emotional bits, her starting point for the conversation was much further down the list than she had originally planned. This is why it’s so important to do the thinking first.

The next day I heard back from the client after the meeting she had been dreading.

She was proud of herself: she didn’t get angry and she didn’t cry.

In fact, she was able to put forward her case calmly and leave the meeting with her head held high, comfortable she did her best.

That is success in my book.

Leah Mether is a communications specialist, trainer, author and speaker. For details of her upcoming Effective Communication workshops, visit
#communication #emotionalintelligence #preparation #difficultconversations

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