7 Effective Approaches for Handling The Office Criticizer without Using the Fire Extinguisher

Depending on the situation, you might try any of the following Phrases that Payses to diffuse their negative energy:

1. “You may be correct.” This phrase diffuses the energy behind someone’s attack and avoids threatening the attacker. And by giving an impression of active agreement – not passive acquiescence – you avoid adding fuel to the fire. What’s more, “You may be right” validates a particular part of someone’s argument. Which doesn’t mean you TOTALLY agree with her. But, it does make it easier for the other person to hear your side of the story by way of reciprocation.

2. “I agree with you.” Similarly, this phrase “agrees with thy adversary quickly,” as the scripture suggests. It builds common ground on a point of mutual agreement and aligns you with the other person. That way, you’re both on the same side. Which is how resistance dissipates. Which makes moving toward a solution flow a LOT smoother.

3. “What makes this so important to you?” This gem is especially effective when someone shoots down EVERY idea you suggest. It identifies a person’s motives and challenges them to honesty examine their emotions, which, if they’ve lashed out at you, probably isn’t something they’ve done yet.

4. “I respect your opinion of my work.” My all-time favorite. Perfect for artists and creative professionals. Remember: If everybody loves your brand, you’re doing something wrong. And if you’re not polarizing or pissing of at least SOME people, you’re doing something wrong. Likewise, if everybody loves your idea, it’s probably not that good of an idea. So, next time someone expresses a dislike for your work – especially in an attempt to fluster, insult or embarrass you – try saying this phrase.

5. “How exactly do you mean?” This responds directly to the attack instead of letting it pass unchallenged. Another variation is, “Can you give me a specific example?” Either way, have a paper and pen ready to take notes to demonstrate a willingness to listen and openness to feedback.

6. “You’re right.” Two of the most powerful words in the world. Also, two of the most beautiful words anyone will hear. This Safety Phrase surprises the attacker, short circuits their verbal violence loop and communicates the message that you’re not going to play by their rules. What’s more, it forces the other person to make a new move. Additionally, saying, “You’re right,” contains the following attributes:

a. It’s positively framed. Which redirects the conversation into a productive direction. And that can ONLY help achieve greater resolve.
b. It enters into someone else’s reality. Which demonstrates empathy. Which shows you’ve listened. Which advances the conversation into safer, more productive territory.
c. It increases someone’s pride. Which speaks to their self-esteem. Which makes them more confident about themselves. Which makes YOU feel better about YOUR self.
d. It builds common ground on a point of mutual agreement. Which reduces emotional distance and increases trust. And especially if someone’s really upset, getting her to trust you is your key goal.
e. It validates a particular part of someone’s argument. Which doesn’t mean you’re TOTALLY agreeing with them. But, it makes them easier for them to (then) hear your side of the story.

7. Silence. Lastly, sometimes the best way to reverse the momentum of an overly aggressive or hostile person is to say nothing at all. To just shut up and let them vent. See, in many cases, that’s all they wanted: Someone to listen to them. To honor them. Or, in some cases, that’s all they needed: Someone to serve as a sounding board so they could hear how absurd their words actually were.

Of course, if none of these practices work, you can always grab the fire extinguisher, either for beatings or sprayings. It all depends on how tall the criticizer is.

Good luck.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you approach the office criticizer?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

What Everybody Ought to Know about Being an Approachable Employee

1. Behavior is the broadcaster of attitude. Don’t bother announcing to people what kind of attitude you strive to maintain. Anyone who’s even (somewhat) perceptive can already tell. And here’s why: Bodies override mouths, verbs outweigh nouns and actions embody mindsets.

Whatever you feel, people can spot. Whatever you harbor, people can smell. And whatever you deny, people can detect. They might not admit it, but deep down, they know something’s going on. Christ, even the DOG is onto you. So, you may as well tell the truth about how you feel. Is your behavior consistent with your stated values, even when no one is watching?

2. Humor is the height of communication. It’s also the only universal language and the great catchall of communication. For example: Funny means listening. Funny means approval. Funny means trust. Funny means attention. Funny means memorable. Funny means engaging. Funny means emotional. Funny means credible. Funny means learning. And funny means influential.

Nothing else in the world covers more ground than humor. And the good news is, everybody is funny. Everybody has endless humor in his life. And anyone can excavate the constant and inherent hilariousness of his daily experiences to improve his communication with others. You don’t need ventriloquize other people’s humor and pawn it off as your own original material.

Learn to leverage you brain’s creative process. Learn to observe ALL your experiences as being humorous. And learn to record them in an easily accessible, organized place. You’ll be the funniest person you know. How strong is your funny bone?

3. Imperfection is the insignia of inspiration. In a 2009 issue of Rolling Stone, Madonna shared the following insight:

“Justin Timberlake is really good-looking and laid back. He’s sort of a Cary Grant. I love him. I love working with him. But I don’t recognize myself IN him. But I can see myself in Lady Gaga. At her concert, she didn’t have a lot of money for her production, she had holes in her fishnets and there were mistakes everywhere. Kind of a mess. And it was nice to see that at a raw stage.”

Lesson learned: Followers and fans can’t see a reflection of themselves in monuments of flawlessness. Are you too perfect?

4. Inauthenticity is the forecaster of failure. Eventually, people are going to find out who you really are. It’s only a matter of time. And while certain people might be able to keep the show going longer than others, putting on an act IS exhausting. Just ask any professional comedian. Everyone (eventually) runs out of steam. And that’s when their truth is revealed.

The question is: How will the people you serve respond to it? And how wide will the gap be between your Truth and their memory? After all, it doesn’t matter what YOU think – it matters what THEY remember. All I’m saying is, it might be easier (and cheaper) to start walking your Truth TODAY. What’s the difference between your onstage performance and backstage reality?

5. Overseriousness is the fountainhead of mediocrity. The only thing worth being serious about is play. Now, understand that there are two components to this philosophy. First: Play as Attitude. This is about approaching everything you do in a playful way. Experiencing the world as a curious child would. Second: Play as Action.

As my mentor and occasional therapist, Richard Avdoian taught me, “Being playful isn’t the same thing as PLAYING.” One is a philosophy, the other is an event – and both are required. So, “playing” is something you do deliberately that has nothing to do with work whatsoever.

Think of it as a mini vacation. Going to a ballgame. Riding a Slip and Slide. Watching a mind-numbing action movie. Walking your ferret. Whatever. Anything that helps you escape from work. Remember: Be playful AND let yourself play. Is your life a playground or a corporate park?

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How approachable are you?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

How do I approach the office bully?

Every science class you’ve ever taken in your life will confirm the following biological truism:

What feeds, grows. What starves, dies.

The secret is to show bullies that you’re not an easy target. Ideally, they’ll eventually become tired and move on.

If you don’t, taking their bait is letting them get away with it. Growing up with an older brother, I can attest to that.

Bullies want attention and a reaction from you. And if you don’t give it to them, they can’t win. Because reactions feed mean people. That’s what they want.

So, instead of getting sucked into their vortex, consider these suggestions:

1. Preface and reciprocate. An excellent technique from The Verbal Art of Self-Defense is to say, “OK, let’s talk about this. You go first and I won’t interrupt. Then when you’re done, I’ll see if I have any questions.” Wow.

2. Ask for clarity. This will frustrate the person who relies on clouding every interaction to feel in control. Try asking, “Can you give me a specific example of that?” Odds are, they can’t.

3. Change the pattern. If you don’t give him the response he expects, you will disrupt his rhythm and break his patterns. This is best way to get someone’s attention. Then, as a result, HE will have to react for once. Ha!

4. Yuk it up. The secret to taking the sting out of potentially threatening remarks is found within your own humor. Especially when it’s used in a safe and unassuming way, this keeps you at protective distance that can’t be breached.

For example, if someone comments, “Ginsberg, you’re such an idiot! You can’t do anything right! What do you have to say for yourself?” you might respond, “Oh, you’re just jealous…” or, if you prefer a more extreme response, “Hey! It’s not my fault my mother ‘experimented’ with crack while she was pregnant with me!”

Such humorous comments prevent the launch of your biochemical “fight or flight” stress response. Most importantly, they allow you to remain in control, to remain intelligent and to preserve the dignity others will attempt to take away.

5. Don’t show a tolerance for interruptions. Get people back on track by counting behaviors and making them aware of their conversational narcissism. Here’s a handy guide I published about how to handle the office interrupter.

6. Remember that clueless people don’t want to see clues. Jerks are defensive, and being defensive means they’re afraid of letting new ideas into their mind. The secret is to drop hints, not bombs. Introduce clues slowly and give them time to respond.

7. Reframe their nastiness. In the book How to Make Piece with Anyone, author David Lieberman suggests the following language: “Thanks for telling me. Most people would be afraid to tell me because they think I’d get all upset and defensive. Where did you learn so much about (X)? How would YOU have handled it? You have such great (X) – I wish you’d tell me your secret.”

This response pattern works for several reasons. First, it’s complimentary. And gratitude diffuses defensiveness. Second, it proves that you’re not taking ownership of the other person’s emotions. Third, it appeals to the other person’s ego (which is exactly what they want anyway) by asking for their expertise. Remember: Don’t defend and don’t complain against it.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you approach the office bully?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

How to Handle Jerks without Resorting to Passive Aggression, Hostile Confrontation or Murder

Almost everyone deals with one.

A bully. A tyrant. A toxic person. A pain in the ass.

You know, a jerk.

THE BAD NEWS IS: It’s part of life. It’s part of having a job. It’s part of working with people.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: You have a choice in how you respond to these people.

Today we’re going to explore the most effective attitudes and responses for approaching (and being approached by) jerks.

We’ll identify philosophies and practices you need to interact with your coworkers in healthy ways. Namely, those that DON’T make you want to gouge out your eyes with a letter opener.

Now, before we look at the strategies, let’s examine four big-picture issues…

FIRST: The reality of the jerk.
Accept the fact that you’re not going to change this person’s mind. Nor will you fundamentally alter his personality.

Chronic jerky behavior tends to be deep seeded and therefore, immobile. As such, it’s VERY hard to force people to renovate their habits and attitudes.

What’s worse, a jerk’s behavioral patterns have probably garnered him (some form of) success over his career. Otherwise he wouldn’t still be working there. This means the jerk’s incentive to change is about as attractive as relocating his cubicle to the septic tank.

SECOND: The reality of the context.
Also keep in mind the stratospheric ridiculousness of the typical corporate mentality: As long as the jerk meets the bottom line, he’s likely to continue behaving in the same way without anyone reprimanding him.

Sad but true. So again, remember that there’s little incentive to change.

THIRD: The reality of you.
Jerks cause people stress. Period. Now, I don’t have any fancy statistics to back this statement up; but I triple dog dare you to argue against it. And here’s the problem: With prolonged exposure, the chronic hostility induced by jerks CAN negatively affect your health.

As Lillian Glass wrote in Toxic People, “We’re so used to having toxic comments hurled at us by others that we begin to feel comfortable with them.”

The danger is, even if it’s only a few negative comments by your boss here and there, it still adds up. And contaminated environments will eventually hurt you directly.

Especially if you become SO frustrated with a coworker that you decide to spend your lunch hour smashing your head into the copy machine until the toner cartridge starts printing in red. Not exactly good for your health.

FOURTH: The reality of the solution.
Gary Namie said it best in Bullies at Work: “When dealing with difficult people, most normal adult communication techniques don’t work. And that will drive you up the wall.”

This means two things: (1) You’ve got to try new approaches, and (2) None of these approaches will work unless YOU are calm and emotional unreactive.

– – –

OK! Now that you’re aware of these four jerky realities, lets dig into some strategies for maintaining your approachability, even when dealing with people who drive you up the wall.

1. Change your reponse. You don’t need to change your situation, your environment or the people in it. In fact, you can’t. There are only three things in the world you CAN control: (1) Your thoughts, (2) Your choices, and (3) Your responses.

Notice I said “responses,” not reactions. HUGE difference. Reactions are unconscious reflexes; responses are conscious decisions.

So, no matter how hostile, rude or annoying some people are, you need to be strong enough to F-R-E-E-Z-E. To hold that moment in a loving space and engage in self-exploration via healthy internal dialogue.

This will help you dilute the toxicity of the effects of these people early on. And the cool part is, once you identify and understand the root of someone’s unapproachable behavior, you exponentially increase your ability to handle the person effectively.

Take some time out to assess what’s happening (and why) by asking yourself questions like:

o Could I possibly remind this individual of someone in their past who gave them a hard time?
o Did something change in this person’s personal life – perhaps a financial situation – making her more secretive and unapproachable?
o Did something change in this person’s workload or status making her more cold and rigid?
o How is it possible that this person could think or behave in this way, and under what circumstances would it make perfect sense to do so?
o If this person “accidentally” got run over by the UPS truck, would people suspect me?
o In what ways have my needs begun to clash with hers?
o Is this person threatened by me being rewarded at work and is shutting me out of the loop?
o Was there an incident between us that left bad feelings?
o Were there clues early on that this individual was going to put up barriers toward me or others?
o What are the verbal cues this person is offering that indicate what they value?
o What is it in me that might be causing this situation?
o Is it possible this person is a cyborg?

2. Understand the source. Let’s say your coworker, Karen, is a huge pain in the butt to work with. She saps you of your effectiveness and energy. Her behavior impairs your performance and creates an atmosphere of paranoia.

She shows no regard for your opinions. She displaces her fears on you. She’s interpersonally exploitative. And to compound the awfulness of the situation, she’s oblivious to those around her and unaware of the impact she’s having on you.

Yikes. Try this:

o Go to the source. Instead of trying to fight back, seek to establish an environment in which the abuse doesn’t occur. For example, let’s say someone is spreading office rumors about you. The single greatest strategy to deflect such nastiness is to live your life in a way that makes those rumors hard to swallow.

o Reduce exposure. As Mr. Miyagi suggested in The Karate Kid, “The best way to block a punch is to not be there.” So, consider the simple strategy of reducing your exposure to certain people.

And as Scott Adams explained in The Dilbert Principle, “You can’t win irrational people over to your side by your superior reasoning abilities. Trying to win an argument with an irrational person is like trying to teach a cat to snorkel by providing written instructions. You best strategy is to reduce the time you spend in that sort of situation.”

One strategy for doing so is to hold meetings in which the attendees (jerk included) are required to stand, not sit. According to The No Asshole Rule, requiring people to stand reduces the average meeting time by over 30%.

3. Use inner resources. OK. You’ve changed your immediate response. You’ve considered the source. Lastly, keep these actionable strategies at your disposal whenever you’re faced with consistent jerky behavior.

o Hold your gaze. Eye contact is an indicator of confidence. Don’t look away or you’ll appear intimidated. And, this will give the jerk the impression that his tactics are working and continue to fuel his fire. At the same time, don’t challenge the person to a staring duel. That only works in Westerns. Find the right balance.

o Increase your listenability. Because jerks aren’t great listeners, you need to try extra hard to make yourself more listenable. Check out this handy guide I wrote on (not) how to “get people to listen to you,” but rather, how to become a more listenable person.

o Breathe. When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace. I learned this from taking yoga for the past two years, and it’s been an invaluable skill. Sure, it sounds cheesy and new age, but that doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. Just remember: The more disturbing people’s actions are, the more you need to coolly respond, instead of reacting. Cultivating a relationship with your breath will help you do that.

REMEMBER: Jerks are part of life. They’re part of having a job. They’re part of working with people.

Fortunately, you have a choice in how you deal with these people: You can either react, which is an unconscious reflex; or respond, which is a conscious decision.

Or, when all else fails, you can always resort to passive aggression, hostile confrontation or ice pick-related murder.

And if that’s the case, you don’t know me.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your secret for approaching jerks?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

How to Help Your Ideas (Actually) Get Through to People

You might be the best communicator in your office.
You might be the greatest conversationalist at your company.
You might be the warmest, friendliest, most approachable employee around.

But none of that matters if your coworkers aren’t in a state of receptivity.

You could have the fastest service in the industry.
You could have the slickest sales pitch on the streets.
You could have the funniest, most polished and engaging PowerPoint slides around.

But none of that matters if your customers aren’t in a state of receptivity.

HERE’S THE REALITY: You can’t make people listen to you.

You can only make an effort to raise their receptivity so your ideas have the highest probability of getting through AND getting understood…

THIS BEGETS THE QUESTION: What does it look like to be in a state of high receptivity?

Ask Robert Lefton, founder of Psychological Associates. In his famous book, Leadership Through People Skills, he spends at least half the text exploring this topic.

“Low receptivity is the refusal to allow ideas through a mental barrier that is set up to shut them out,” says Lefton. “And you have virtually no chance of communicating with someone whose receptivity is low.”

“As such, you (also) have virtually no chance of doing any of the things that depend on communication: motivating, training counseling, sharing ideas, discussing, debating, considering alternatives, weighing options or soliciting ideas.”

IN SHORT: No receptivity = No nothing.

It’s like talking to a brick wall. Sure, you THINK you’re communicating. But in reality, you’re just wasting your time. And the wall’s time.

There HAS to be a willingness to work with the other person. As Lefton suggests, “Your success depends on your ability to raise the level of receptivity and make willing partners out of unwilling people.”

Today we’re going to explore the attributes of receptive (and unreceptive) people. And as we go through the continuum, I’m going to challenge you to plug yourself into both sides of the equation to maximize your approachability.

FIRST: Spot signs of low or declining receptivity.

Lefton’s laundry list of low-receptivity behaviors includes:

Belligerence. Flat assertions. Impatience. Interruptions. Sarcasm. Silence. Apathy. Inattention. Nervousness. Meandering. Excessive socializing. Superficial questioning. Unquestioning agreement.

Now, since his book was written in 2000, I would also add to the following behaviors to the unreceptive list:

Checking email. Sending text messages. Listening to their iPod while you’re trying to tell them how badly they screwed up.

SO, ASK YOURSELF: What about this person’s behavior tells me that he isn’t open to what I’m trying to communicate?

SECOND: Spot signs of high or rising receptivity.

Next, here’s a list of high-receptivity behaviors:

Qualifying their assertions or arguments. Showing that her mind is not made up by questioning her own viewpoints. Thoughtful agreement. Involvement and non-belligerent debate. Pertinent questions.

Again, since Lefton’s book is a few years old, I would also add to the following behaviors to the receptive list:

Sitting up straight. Making eye contact. Holding a digital recorder, blank notebook and seven brand new pens.

SO, ASK YOURSELF: What about this person’s behavior tells me that she IS open to what I’m trying to communicate?

Ultimately, eloquence, logic – even well thought out arguments – are no substitute for receptivity.

I don’t care if you’re Dale Carnegie.

No Receptivity = No Nothing

REMEMBER: You can’t make people listen to you.

You can only make an effort to raise their receptivity so your ideas have the highest probability of getting through and getting understood.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How will you increase the probability of your ideas getting through?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “7 Ways to Radically Raise the Receptivity of Those You Serve,” send an email to me, and you get the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

How do I approach someone who always interrupts me?

How you respond to conversational interruptions is a powerful indicator of your character, patience and approachability.

Consider these five practices for approaching people who always interrupt you:

1. Press the “resume button”. When someone hijacks the conversation from you, make sure to return to where you left off. Depending on your relationship WITH and the personality OF the interrupter, your “resume button” could be:

*Polite: “May I continue with my story?
*Sarcastic: “As I was saying five minutes ago…”
*Playful: “Canifinish? Canifinish canifinish?” (from SNL, Dana Carvey)

2. Educate them. Maybe you’re concerned that someone is going to interrupt what you’re about to say. Or that you’ve got an important story that can’t be punctuated by other people’s clever little jokes. So, here’s the solution:

Educate them early. Explain WHY you can’t be interrupted. Preface your story or comment with, “Carol, this is a really important story, so hang onto your comments until I’m done – cool?”

3. Interrupt the interrupter. Sometimes you have to give ‘em a taste of their own medicine. To fight fire with fire. So, interrupt them right back. See how they like it. Don’t worry; if they’ve already interrupted you first, you have permission to return the gesture.

4. Use silence strategically. Sometimes the best strategy is to simply stop talking when interrupted. Punctuated by a patient, semi-serious gaze, this practice allows the interrupter to hear the amplified sound of her conversational narcissism in your silence.

And, when timed correctly, you can usually get an apology out of the person, this granting you permission to continue speaking. Keep in mind this strategy doesn’t work with ALL interrupter personalities, but can be effective when used correctly.

5. Express your emotions. If someone is completely unaware of his interrupting patterns, say the following: “Steve, when you interrupt me like that, it makes me feel (x) because (y).” Then pause. Then wait for his apology. Then continue.

If he doesn’t apologize say, “Steve, I choose not to have conversations when I feel constantly interrupted.” Then walk away or hang up.

The key word here is “choose.” Ultimately, this strategy will work because it’s focused on the behavior, not the person, and reinforces your commitment to your values and boundaries.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you handle interrupters?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

How do I approach someone who’s angry?

In David Lieberman’s bestselling book, Make Peace with Anyone, he explains that when someone responds negatively toward you, four possible motivations are at hand:

(1) He’s a jerk to everyone, (2) He is threatened by you, (3) He thinks you dislike him, or (4) You’ve given him a reason to dislike you.

This means the problem might not be 100% your fault.

So, consider these six practices for approaching angry people:

1. Start with yourself. No matter how hostile, rude or annoying some people are, you need to be strong enough to F-R-E-E-Z-E. Otherwise you enable their hostile behavior by virtue of responding to it. Fortunately, with a little self-exploration through healthy internal dialogue, you can dilute the toxicity of the effects of these people.

Ask yourself questions like…

“What value system is this person operating out of?”
“What is it – IN ME – that might be causing this reaction?”
“Could I possibly remind this individual of someone in their past who gave him a hard time?”
“How is it possible that this person could think or behave in this way, and under what circumstances would it make perfect sense to do so?”

2. Monopolize the listening. Keep quiet. Let him blow off some steam first. He has to run out of gas eventually. This will help him calm down without the need to condescendingly say, “Calm down.”

In fact, that’s the worst thing you could say. If you say “Calm down,” he’s either going to say: (1) I AM CALM!! Or, worse yet, (2) become more upset. No need to compound his frustration.

The secret is to allow your silence and stillness – almost like a body of water – to enable him to hear the sound of his own overreaction. Sometimes this subtle bell of awareness brings him back to center. If that doesn’t work, you can always try jamming a highlighter up his nose.

3. Use the word “Wow.” It’s neutral, versatile, empathetic, non-judgmental and emotionally unreactive. WOW avoids over actively listening to someone. WOW offers an immediate answer, thus laying a foundation of affirmation. WOW buys you some time, until you can define your official response.

WOW also helps you maintain composure when presented with unexpected, difficult or crucial information. WOW creates space in the conversation, which grants the speaker permission to continue. One word. One sentence. It works. Make it your default.

4. Deflect it. Don’t get sucked into the bait game. Don’t become defensive or upset. Instead, use neutral, you-oriented responses like, “You’re really upset about this,” or “You must be having a bad day.”

This type of language reverses the momentum of the conversation and demonstrates that you refuse to take ownership of somebody else’s problem. Either that, or his head will explode. Which wouldn’t actually be that bad anyway.

5. Avoid questions that begin with WHY. Here’s the problem: WHY can be seen as criticism. WHY can make people feel defensive. WHY can force someone to justify his actions. WHY can be internalized as a personal attack. WHY can be easily countered with because.

Instead, use question that begin with What, How, Who, When, or Where. They’re more objective and enable you to depersonalize the question. What’s more, those prefixes uncover information, specification and motivation; whereas WHY produces generalizations, rationalizations and justifications.

It takes some time to train yourself, but after about six months of why-mindfulness, you’ll rarely catch yourself saying it again. And although nobody will really notice the change, YOU will feel an immediate difference in the way you attend to others.

6. Offer specific behavioral feedback. Focus on the action, not the person. This assures the angry individual doesn’t take your comment as a personal attack.

Here’s a helpful formula: “John, when you react that way, other people – myself included – don’t want to be around or even approach you. We’re afraid that being honest might upset you again.” Try saying that, then wait.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your secret for approaching your coworker or boss with a concern?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

How do I approach my coworker or boss with a concern?

FIRST: Pinpoint self-interest.

Let me share four words that changed my life forever:

Nobody cares about you.

I know. It’s hard to wrap your head around that. But it’s true.

People don’t care how good you are – they care how good you’re going to help them become. People don’t care what you’ve done – they care what you’ve learned, and how those lessons can help them. And people don’t care if you’re having a bad day – they care how you’re going to help them have a better day.

Try these Phrases That Payses to let people know that you understand what’s important to them:

1. “I know how much this means to you”
2. “I can see this is important to you”
3. “Jim, you obviously wouldn’t have knocked off that jewelry store if you didn’t love your wife.”

Also, here’s another exercise that will keep you focused on whoever your “them” is. Ask yourself the following questions, each of which can be phrased for individuals or groups of people:

o What is this person’s success seed?
o What is the key to this person’s heart?
o Who does this person need to look good for?
o What is #1 on this person’s Self Interest List?
o What does this person’s self-interest hinge upon?
o Who can hurt this person the most, and how can I address that?
o What underlying objective or goal does this person’s role create?

SECOND: Think on paper.

Writing makes everything you do easier. Writing brings clarity and untangles threads. It’s also a form of self-communication.

So, before officially approaching your coworker or boss, I suggest you collect and organize your thoughts first. SEE what you’re thinking. This makes it easier to articulate everything you want to say when the time comes, almost like you’re tapping into a reservoir of insight.

THIRD: Create a listenable environment.

When you walk into someone’s office or sit down, start off by asking, “Is this a good time for you to listen to me?” If yes, proceed to speak. If not, ask them, “When would be a good time for you to listen to me?” These questions reinforce your commitment to creating listenable environments.

Also, ask yourself: Is this setting conducive to listening? What around you might be distracting someone from listening to you? How could you put yourself in the most listenable position?

FOURTH: Give people the meat.

Look. People are really, really busy. They simply don’t have time to listen to or read everything you’ve got for them.

In short: You need to cut to the chase.

You need to approach your conversations, emails and encounters with a greater mindfulness of the A.D.D., hyperspeed and instant-gratification-nobody-cares-about-you culture in which we live.

In his famous book, The Ten Rules of Writing, Elmore Leonard advised, “If you want to write a great book, just leave out the parts people skip.”

Wow. What a concept. I wonder what would happen if you applied that same rule to emails, phone calls and conversations? (People would probably listen to you a LOT more, that’s for sure!)

Ask yourself: Is what I’m about to say or write something other people would usually skip? If so, take it out. Trim the fat. Become known as a filter. A distiller. A walking Cliff’s Note Machine.

Everybody will want to be around you because people are just DYING for someone to cut all the crap out for them and just give them they good stuff.

REMEMBER: Humans are carnivores and they’re hungry. Feed them with your value. What parts of this email do you need to leave out? Is what you’re about to say rooted in value or vanity? And, if you ran a Body Mass Index of your last presentation, email or conversation, what percentage of it would be pure pudge?

FIFTH: Send a summary. At the end of the conversation or meeting, say this: “Mark, I’ve been writing down a few notes today. When I get back to my office, I’ll send you an email with quick, bullet-point summary of our conversation. That way we’ll be the same page.”

Almost NOBODY will reject this suggestion. Especially a manager. It’s a time saver for them. It’s also bookmark on the conversation so they don’t have to remember anything.

Or, if they DO forget something, they’ll always have a handy reference guide for confirmation. What’s more, on your side of the conversation, this practice shows initiative, demonstrates effective listening and proactive communication, plus it establishes joint-accountability.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What’s your secret for approaching your coworker or boss with a concern?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

How do I approach complainers?

If you work with one of those delightful people whose sole purpose in life is to flood your mental landscape with complaints, consider these five practices for approaching them with comfort and class:

1. Appreciate their value. Yes, complaining is unattractive. Yes, complaining solves nothing. Yes, complaining makes you want to drown yourself in the water cooler.

Still, there is some validity in listening closely to what people are whining about. Often times, these people point out problems everyone else overlooked. What good does this complainer point out?

2. Allow dead air. Nothing makes complainers happier than when another person validates their position and joins them in their self-indulgent pity party. Don’t let this happen to you. Don’t get sucked into their vortex of negativity because they’re insecure about their own life situation.

Instead, try saying nothing. Literally. Complainers HATE dead air. Eventually they’ll get bored and move on. Are you willing to accept silence as a normal part of your conversations?

3. Remove the audience. What’s the best way to handle a screaming child who demands Mike & Ikes in the checkout line of the grocery store? Ignore him. After all, they only make a fuss to get attention.

So, the same parallel can be made for complainers: They’re the kind of people who grumble aloud, then look around the room to see who agrees with them. Validate me! Validate me! They think.

My suggestion: Remove the audience. Don’t make eye contact. Do something else. Or just walk away. No Audience = No Attention = No Reason to Complain. What if there was nobody to complain to?

4. Mirror the responsibility. If there’s one thing complainers hate, it’s taking responsibility. After all, they wouldn’t be complaining if they had any idea how to execute, right?

So, here’s what you do. Next time someone complains to you about some insolvable issue, refuse to take ownership of her problem. Do the exact opposite – mirror the responsibility. Try saying, “So, what are you going to do about it?” or “What do you suggest?” or “Well then, what’s the solution?” How are you calmly putting the ball back in their court?

5. Send it back. When all else fails, snarkiness might be the answer. (Some people just need to hear it!) So, respond with slightly cynical language that refuses to fuel the fire.

For example, next time your coworker, Lauren, stops by your cubicle to whine about how her caveman boyfriend left the seat up and she accidentally fell into the toilet and that’s why she was twenty minutes late getting to work, respond with, “That’s great news!” “Thanks for sharing that!” or “Don’t worry, I read in US Weekly that Urine is the name of Paris Hilton’s new perfume line!”

If neither of those approaches work, you could always try, “Lauren, I can’t believe I just let you waste two minutes of my life. I am now dumber having listening to you. Please go away or else I’m calling security.” Are you willing to fight fire with snark?

REMEMBER: Complaining rarely makes anybody any money.

Except maybe George Carlin.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
How do you approach complainers?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS…
For the list called, “26 Rapid-Fire Strategies for becoming the Most Approachable Person in Your Organization,” send an email to me, and I’ll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

If they can’t come UP to you; how will they ever get BEHIND you?

Buy Scott’s new book and learn daily practices for becoming a more approachable manager!

Pick up your copy (or a case!) right here.

Sign up for daily updates
Connect

Subscribe

Daily updates straight to your inbox.

Copyright ©2020 HELLO, my name is Blog!