How many times have you seen the argument coming? You knew that the other person was agitated and that the conversation just wasn’t going to go well. My suggestion to you: Give up hope. That’s all there is to it. Just give up. Either that, or you might want to start giving conscious thought to being able to talk with another person who might not be the most willing person to talk with you, logically.
This article is the first in a series dealing with how to talk with people when all might not be smooth sailing. This article is simply going to be an overview, but it’s an overview with a primer. You’re going to have to start consciously thinking about people and your interactions with them. Most don’t.
The things that will be covered in future articles (but not limited to these) will be: ·
- Goals: What is your goal and how solid is it. ·
- Presentation: How you present yourself will be of great importance. ·
- Attitude: What are you talking about, and why are you talking about it THAT WAY? ·
- One-upmanship: This is the cancer of just about any relationship, personally, socially, or professionally.
- Learning to lead by backing off ·
The three types of talk:
- Past = Blame
- Present = Values
- Future = Choice
There must be cognizant thought given to what I’ll be sharing. That is, you must be aware of what it is that you are thinking, so that you can maintain focus and direction. You can’t just read this article and then wait for the next one to appear, without giving continued thought to what is presented to you now. Your success in talking WITH people (instead of AT or TO them), will be comparable with the amount of time and desire you put in to working toward to goal of being a better communicator.
I’ll be piling on a lot of information, so, in conjunction with all of the bullet points above, I want to throw one more item into the mix, for now. It’s Newton’s law of physics. It states that every action is accompanied by an equal and opposite reaction (Yes, it works in the world of psychology, too.).
Newton and you. If I come up to you and we’re standing face-to-face and suddenly I push you in the chest, there is going to be some resistance, simply because you are standing there and your body offers resistance against my pushing you. It’s the same, intellectually. If there is a thought offered, then there will naturally be resistance to it. If there is agitation added to the formula, then the resistance will be much greater. If I tell you “Don’t,” immediately, you think, “I WILL.” If I tell you, “Do,” then the first reaction will probably be, “NO.” It’s human nature.
In our minds, we naturally want to preserve ourselves. The easiest way of doing so is simply by disagreeing with someone and thereby maintaining self-control. Sometimes self-control works, sometimes it backfires. Even if a person is correct in the presentation of his or her argument, and it would benefit you by agreeing to it, you still deny the person the chance to offer a good solution because you allow yourself to get in the way.
You must stop this.
I want to touch on one important thing with the remainder of this article, keeping the above bullets in mind. It’s the most important thing in this entire series. It deals with cognitive behavior. In other words, how aware are you of what it is that is happening? This will be our anchor point. You must be cognitively aware of many things that are going on around you. You will need to keep in mind past experiences (without casting blame or projection of your own garbage). You will need to keep in mind what is currently happening, quite possibly at several different levels and places, all at once (keeping in mind your own values as well as the person with whom you are talking). You will also need to keep in mind that whatever it is that you do at the current time will lead to the accomplishment or failure of reaching your goals (The future is a choice you make now.). Dealing with attitudes, hidden agendas, unspoken thoughts and unknown personal situations will make things all the more fun.
If this all seems like a lot, you are correct. That’s why I suggested simply giving up, earlier. If you are a fighter, or if you actually care, then I’m sure that you won’t give up and that you’ll devote the required effort (however long that might take) to achieving better results (no matter how small in the beginning) when dealing with people who seem to be somewhat agitated when talking with you.
You are going to have to become more aware. There’s no denying this. I cannot stress this enough: You MUST be able to devote time to becoming consciously aware of many things around you, in dealing with other people (Don’t kid yourself). You simply cannot insist on your own way (no matter how right you are). If you, yourself, are given over to agitation, then I’d suggest a six-month sabbatical to Tahiti (or Nome, Alaska, as I hear they have some pretty good beachfront property up there, also.) so that you can get your bearings before venturing out into what may at first appear to be “no person’s land” (In an effort to momentarily remain politically correct, this will be the only time you see me desecrate a really cool term “No Man’s Land.”).
One final thought, here. I’d like to leave you with this until the next article comes along. I want you to take the word “potential” and dwell on it. Give it some thought while you’re driving, or while you’re lying there on your bed, finding it hard to fall asleep, or you have to make a trip to the washroom (“Washroom” is Canadian for “Restroom” eh?) (And no, I’m not Canadian). I want you to think of your own potential (even if you have to joke about it). I want you to think of the potential of the situation you might be in at some future point when you have to work through an agitated session. I want you to dwell on the potential that others have in their lives, no matter how hard-headed or ignorant they may appear. This will have a major bearing on what I’ll be gabbing about with our next time together.
Nobody said that this was going to be easy.
With all of this said, I hope you’ll be looking forward to hearing about “goals” in the next article. It won’t be any sort of a “rah-rah” session (I hate rah-rah sessions). There will be a little bit of visualization, a little bit about breath-holding, a little bit about… well… we’ll see. I wish you well in your journeys. The Internet can be a big and scary place. Please, come back here when you need a place to roost.
Timothy W. Beeker
Guest Author on First, Dont Panic and Motivational Public Speaker