There will always be a difficult person in your circles of business or social conversation. You will undoubtedly have to deal with a difficult person whether you are a confident or a novice conversationalist.
You may even BE that difficult fellow chat partner at times!
Knowing WHAT the purpose of your conversation is to be and preparing to present yourself appropriately, will lessen the power such a person has over you. They will not spoil your conversation’s potential to:
Make new friends
Ask questions for information
Clear up a misunderstanding
Let people know of our services or products
Enjoy, relax and have fun in an easy and free way to visit
Conversation Super Snipes and Energy Sappers
Conversation saboteurs commonly fall into categories as predictable as A, B, C, and D.
A- is for the Aggressive type who will be pushy and try to pressure or intimidate you. They may use threats such as, “Oh, you’ll be sorry that you said//thought/acted on that.” If they can’t win by their tactics of superiority and pushiness, they may sink to criticizing you on personal points. What to do?
Stand your ground.
Ask them why they feel so strongly about an opinion they’ve spouted.
Be assertive and take your turn to talk.
Don’t let them interrupt and you will take back the power they’ve claimed through their imbalanced *behaviour to you or the group.
*You’ll see that in each case, countering the difficult behaviour with the opposite often balances the situation.
B- is for the Best in Class type who will take an expert stance and spew statistics and methods as if you were empty headed, until you drown in details.
Review their points.
Ask questions that follow up on some of their points rather than letting them advise, endlessly.
Get them to commit to a worst case scenario solution-not just a theoretical lecture. You may stop them in their talking ‘tracks.’
C- is for the Conversation Assassin who will elevate their status at your expense by using sarcasm, innuendo and humor to cut into your communications in conversations. They are the bullies of banter and often don’t contribute, but like to entertain and complain.
Ask directly for their opinion or to explain their complaint. “Tell us what you don’t like about the…. action/topic/decision etc…that you don’t like?”
When you force them to be the speaker, their power dematerializes as quickly as a movie vampire vanishes in bright sunlight.
D -is for Doomster, a type who will only see the risk, will deflate and de-motivate any person or idea.
This type of person was the most difficult for me to balance when I depended so much in the first years of my collaborative energy and creativity based consulting and content writing work.
It’s best not to argue with these unhappy campers of the conversations at business networking events or even family gatherings.
Acknowledge their opinion and refuse to argue.
Ask what they would do in your place and listen.
Announce you’re going to take the risk and you’ve got it covered!
Do you see your own habits or personality in just these simple four types? If you take a breath and a moment to calm yourself, you may clearly see that those annoying or aggressive people are behaving that way because they are in need of something. In another column we’ll talk about how to ‘read’ people and their behaviour.
VIP Very Important Preparedness Point: You can avoid personality pitfalls by remembering that a conversation exists on give and take. Get the most of out it if you understand what the other person wants from the conversation; you can be clear about your role as a partner in the conversation.
It’s hard to declare clearly at the outset what you want, and many times there are multiple purposes. You’ll notice, however, that our ‘what to do’ solutions that balance behaviours and cut through talk that is boring or uncomfortable.
NEXT: Conversation Spring Cleaning! We empty the mail bag. Send YOUR QUESTIONS NOW for the APRIL ANSWER ISSUE on your conversation or communication puzzles. TELL US, What’s on YOUR MIND right now??