I hope you enjoyed last week’s Thought for the Week; “The Authenticity Paradox” which was all about aligning what we say and what we do with what we believe and knowing when not to over-share.
You can read my previous blogs below.
Personally, I used to be a people-pleaser and worried about saying things that might upset people. After years of tying myself in knots over this, the penny finally dropped when I realised that I had no control over whether people were upset by anything I said.
I could say the same thing to 100 different people and each person would have their own interpretation. All I could do was to be respectful and clear about what I wanted to say and the rest was up to them!
How freeing was that? HUGELY!
You probably already learned this too. At the same time, and I don’t know about you, but I know plenty of people who struggle with it.
Of course, in most cases, the majority of us don’t set out to upset people and if someone is upset by something we said, we probably feel mortified … and misunderstood!
As human beings, we have multiple levels of communication, through …
- Our words
- Our tone of voice
- Our body language
- Our actions
- Our emotions
- Our sensed communication and expression.
So, how to respond when someone is upset?
- Take a deep breath and stay calm! Just sit with that person and be present. Acknowledge that it’s human to be upset at times.
- Approach them on a heart-to-heart level (people tend to be more comfortable using logic in these situations and focussing on feelings will have a more successful outcome when someone is emotional)
- Avoid starting a question with “Why” as it tends to come across as judgemental and more likely to exacerbate the situation. So, avoid asking “why are you upset?” At the same time, we must do more than ask the question “How do you feel?”
- Pick up on their signals and ask yourself what is this person conveying about their feelings in all of the above bullet points, their body language, actions etc? Also ask yourself what you are noticing in yourself about your own feelings.
- Ask them what do they need most right now.
- If they are angry with and blaming you, try not to react or get defensive (you know you can’t control their emotions). Just listen to them and let them get it out. Only when they have finished, ask them whether you could explain from your side. If you find yourself feeling angry because they are angry, this is where your Emotional Intelligence comes into play! If you can stay calm, acknowledge their feelings and listen to them before you respond (calmly), you will help that person to become less emotional and more logical again.
Yes, we have probably been misunderstood if someone is upset by something we said because we didn’t mean it that way. Because we can’t control how another person feels, all we can do is to tap into our own Emotional Intelligence and help them to tap into theirs.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is the seat of really effective communication once we master it …
“Emotional Intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behaviour, navigate social complexities and make personal decisions that achieve positive results” – Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves-
“We cannot tell what may happen to us in the strange medley of life. But we can decide what happens in us – how we can take it, what we do with it- and that is what really counts in the end.”
-Joseph Fort Newton-
[Author of “The Builders”]
As always, I will leave you with that thought!
I will be in touch again with posting more thoughts and tips on how you, and / or your team can be more effective communicators.
With best wishes,
P.S. Check out The Communication Code
#communication #coaching #people #business