There’s no shortage of complaints and problems that financial pros like yourself deal with – often on a weekly basis.
Whether it’s concerns over benefits, getting funding for a project they think is important or customer complaints, the conversation can get heated from time to time.
What do you do when a normal interaction gets hot and turns into an argument?
Follow these four steps to keep a discussion cool:
1. Let the person vent
Show empathy by saying something like, “I’d be upset too if I was dealing with this” or “I get why you’re frustrated about the situation.”
Don’t take the anger personally. They’re just venting about a problem.
Also try not to interrupt while they’re venting. Listen to the key points while they’re getting it off their chest.
2. Repeat after me
Once he or she is done speaking, paraphrase and repeat back what you think you heard.
Example: “If I heard you correctly, the problem is X and you need Y done about it.”
This prevents any further miscommunication and lets the person know you’re really listening.
3. Be real
There may not be an easy solution that you can come up with right away.
Ask them what kind of resolution they’d like in the meantime.
It may be an easy fix that satisfies them for the time being, such as getting another department “off their backs” on a group project.
If you can’t facilitate the request, let them know why.
4. If necessary, end it
With the vast majority of the human population, these steps will defuse the situation!
Then there’s the few folks who won’t calm down and act rationally.
Let them know: “I can’t continue talking if you won’t calm down. Maybe we can discuss this later.”
Be firm and be clear about it. If that doesn’t do the trick, end it then and there.