In Part One we discussed the fact that often what most throws us off-balance in terms of a verbal attack is its suddenness; the surprise factor. If we’re not expecting it and not prepared, it can cause us to either lash back (react) or submissively take it without any type of response at all. Neither of those are productive.
A solution to this, then, is to practice and prepare. Visualize what something like this might look like and see yourself calmly responding in a way that disarms the person and the situation, and serves everyone involved, ensuring both parties come out a winner.
Now, let’s look at some language we can use within the response. I can tell you both from firsthand experience and the many people who’ve learned this from studying my “Winning Without Intimidation” audio series…this works!
A customer/friend/co-worker family member, whomever is in a bad mood and approaches you in an angry, challenging manner. They unleash a small verbal assault. What do you do?
First, again, you respond by maintaining control of yourself and your emotions. Remain calm, take a deep breath and hear them out. Display interest in what they are saying, but show no emotion. When they finally pause, simply use these words:
“I…might possibly owe you an apology. I don’t know. Did I say or do something to offend you?”
There will now be several very long seconds of silence, as they realize the inappropriateness of their actions. More than likely they’ll answer, “No, I’m sorry, I’m just in a bad mood (or had a bad day, etc.). I’m really sorry.”
Now you can let them know, “I understand. I’ve had those myself. Is there anything I can do to help?”
WOW – another case of taking that lemon, turning it into sweet lemonade and, without question, taking a potential enemy and turning them into a friend.