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Effective Tools for Managing Difficult People and Situations

Running Time: 1:21



Pamela Jett

About the Trainer – Pamela Jett As an internationally recognized communication skills expert, stress management speaker and author, Pamela Jett knows what she’s talking about. Having graduated from San Diego State University with a degree in Speech Communication and being recognized as one of the top 20 speech and debate competitors in the country, Pamela went on to earn her Master’s degree in Communication. Today, Pamela Jett travels the globe, conducting training programs... Read More

And I know that most of you probably agree with me on that one that out of control emotions can make even smart people stupid. We can have all of the remarkable communication tools for dealing with difficult people but if we are too upset, angry, or irritated to use those tools they don’t do us any good. So before I give you some of those remarkable tools we’re going to discover how important it is to hide our goats. Because as my good friend, Zig Zigler has taught me, they can’t your goat if you don’t tell them where your goat is tied up. We’ll discover three powerful secrets for hiding our goats so that we deny other people the satisfaction of seeing us sweat. And in addition to those three powerful secrets, we’ll learn one way we can calm ourselves down so we don’t say things we regret. Our first goat hiding strategy might sound very simple… And the best tool that I’ve ever discovered as an exploder of doing the unexpected is to agree with them. Now, here’s how this works. I’d like you to imagine that you’re a bank teller and a customer comes to your teller window and they are coming unhinged. They say something like this. “I cannot believe that you have made a mistake in my checking account. I mean it’s only five dollars but it’s my five dollars and if I can’t trust you with my five dollars I can’t trust you with anything. This is the world’s worst bank. You’re a bunch of stupid idiots. In fact, you’re a clueless wonder. I cannot believe that I would trust you and I’ve had to wait in line for 45 minutes. This is ridiculous. You’re awful.” By the way, could that happen? Some of you have worked in a bank, obviously. This isn’t a question of could it happen, it’s a question of if and when it’s going to happen to you, and how many times in one day, and are they coming to your teller window? The smartest thing the teller can ever do is say to this hot head exploder, “You’re right. A five dollar mistake is a serious mistake. Let’s figure out how to fix it.” Now notice I chose very carefully what to agree with. You do not say, “You’re right. We are the world’s worst bank,“ or “You’re right, I am a stupid idiot.” What you want to do is you want to look for the seed of rationality in the exploder’s craziness. Is it reasonable to become upset about a mistake… I see it differently. “Tell me more if you like,” because they’re going to talk about it anyway so you stand your ground. I see it differently. Notice I didn’t say I disagree. There is a difference between I disagree and I see it differently. I disagree is very confrontational and combative. I see it differently simply says, I have a different opinion. There’s no right or wrong there, it’s simply I see it differently. It’s a much calmer way of expressing yourself. I see it differently. Tell me more if you like, and the steamroller will. Eventually here’s what they’re going to learn. They’re going to learn that no matter… Make the hidden obvious. Here’s what it might sound like. Somebody takes a pot shot at you; you can say something like this. “Wow, I thought I heard an insult in what you just said, did you mean it that way?” You should see the looks on some of your faces. “Wow, I thought I heard an insult in what you just said, did you mean it that way?” Or, “Wow that sounds like you’re being critical of my project is that your intent?” Or, “That hurt my feelings. You didn’t mean to did you?” Or, “Comments like that sound as if you’re making fun of my new haircut. You’re not doing that are you?” Or, “When people say things like that it sounds as if they’re making fun of my ethnic background. You’re not doing that are you?” Hear how that works; it’s two phases. The first phase is to make the hidden agenda – whatever their hidden agenda might be; to humiliate you, to embarrass you, to make you feel bad, to take a pot shot at your ethnicity, your age, or your haircut, and you bring it right out in the open. You just say, “Hey, that hurt my feelings,” or “That sounds like you were trying to insult me or make me look bad in front of our colleagues.” You just pull it right out in the open and then you ask a confirm or deny question.