You’re verbally assaulted, either by someone you know, or even the complaining customer you just met. And, you don’t handle it well; either shouting right back or simply taking it; only afterward realizing just the right response.
Yes, even while beginning to master the art of positive persuasion, we can still be “thrown off” when verbally attacked. The reason is simply the surprise itself. Let’s look at how to prepare for these attacks so the surprise factor will not be able to get the best of you. Then we’ll check out some specific language you can use to effectively diffuse the situation and bring it under control, and have your antagonizer virtually eating out of your hands.
Brian from New Jersey writes, “I find I can be in a disagreement with someone and really use your methods to mutual advantage. That’s not the issue. My problem is when I’m verbally attacked right from the beginning. Someone comes at me and starts yelling at me, and I just react and blow my top. Then, of course, it goes downhill from there. Any advice?”
Brian, the greatest thing about your question, and what I appreciate most about it, is your recognizing this as a challenge. Excellent first step. I’ve been there and can relate. Please know that once you master yourself in this area, you’ll be much more effective and productive, both for yourself and for others. There’ll be no stopping you!
So, how do you effectively handle a verbal attack, diffuse it, and turn the situation 180 degrees?
Two suggestions: First is to mentally rehearse a situation in which someone verbally attacks you. See yourself, in your mind’s eye, responding with calmness and serenity, completely in control of your own emotions and thus, in control of the situation. If you can do it in your mind, you can do it in a real-life situation.
Just as an astronaut training for a mission goes through numerous simulations before ever actually going into space, you’ll find rehearsing in your mind before the event ever takes place puts you nine steps ahead of the game…in a ten-step game.
In the next article, we’ll see one example of how this mental rehearsal, plus the right words and attitude, can absolutely turn your attacker into your advocate.