Learn how to avoid feeling hurt - start the positive conversation

Learn how to avoid feeling hurt - start the positive conversation

The client was so annoyed, angry and frustrated that it was hard for him to express himself properly. It was one of these emergency calls and hence had to be dealt with over the phone. "How on earth can the Chairman say that I did not do enough to convince this large steel company to accept our proposal. He was questionning if I did not take this a high enough priority!"  "Well, what did you answer him?" I asked. "I could not reply properly", he said "I was so mad about this injustice, that I stood up and left. I know this was not good, but I had to go, to make sure that I do not do anything stupid."

To make a long phone call short. We agreed that the attack was not justified, that he would call for a meeting to try to understand why the Chairman came to this conclusion. Depending on the situation he would either  first show him the evidance what he and his team did and second  present the next steps to hopefully save the deal. Depending on the conversation it could make sense to first discuss the next steps and then show the prep work done.

The point I want to raise is that it is really important for us to be aware under which circumstances we get so heated up. Because one thing is sure, as soon as you have these high stress levels your cognitive capabilities go down the drain and you will have no chance to bring the conversation to a reasonable level. All this has happned because you felt attacked, treated unfairly in one way or an other. Felling attacked means feeling vulnerable, at risk, in danger. So why does this happen to us? The key reason is that we all have weak points (I call them unconcious programs) that get triggered under certain circumstances. This points can originate from past bad experiences in our business life or can go as far back as childhood. Where ever they come from, they are a nucance, because they deprive us from our ability to act professional and calm.

Do you find this hard to accept? Try to imagine that you are completely safe from a physical, social, health, financial point of view. You feel absolutely confident in a good natural way about yourself. You have no doubts at all on managing or accepting any situation in life. From this situation if somebody tells you, that you did not do your best, you will not feel attacked, but probably more curious. You might ask, "what makes you say that?" in a friendly way. You would be sincerly interested to find out if there is a lack of information, a misunderstanding or indeed something you could learn how to improve. You would stay completly calm and be able to interact with the person with our full intellect present. When you feel strong and confident, it is hard for anybody to push you. As a matter of fact most people are actually much stronger than they perceive themselves, so have a close look and try to understand, why something moves you, went it does.

So what can you get out of this? For most of us it will be hard to grow that old to reach this "Nirwana" level on true self confidence. So in the mean time, be aware that if something makes you mad, a weak point of you has been triggered. Accept it, nothing wrong, just interesting. Be nice to yourself, try to understand what is behind your reaction and work on it, ideally with an outside person. This can be a friend or of course a coach.

Credit Suisse