CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JAN. 02, 2015
version 5, draft 5

How to Communicate Effectively With Difficult People

It is likely that you will come into contact or even have to spend extended periods of time with a difficult person. It is easy for their temperament to have an effect on you and leave you feeling frustrated. Fortunately, how they make you feel and what you communicate is in your control. You can effectively diffuse a situation by taking charge.

Control Yourself

Encountering a person who is irritable quickly affects your mood, and you can easily lose your temper, and the problem gets even bigger. Remember to always stay composed; being in control enables you to use your better judgment in dealing with the situation. Take a few moments away from the person and come back when you feel ready to deal with them.

Keep your Distance

There are difficult people that may be in our circles, but we are not in direct contact with. Unless it is extremely important that you interact with them, stay away from them. This saves you lots of altercations, and your valuable time is not wasted on someone who is trying to make things difficult for you.

Be Proactive

It is advisable always to look at the situation positively. Think of how to solve the problem and evaluate the different ways you can view the problem. Let your communication be objective and not reactive. This way, you quell any likelihood of tempers escalating any further. In most cases, difficult people try to project their feelings on others and once you broaden your scope on the situation the misunderstanding or problem is curtailed before it gets out of hand.

Look at the Problem not the Individual

You have enhanced yourself into a problem-solver and a strong character with people skills. Apply these strengths and separate the issue at hand from the person. Without hurting or disrespecting the person, be firm about the issue. For instance, if you have to deal with a person who is screaming, tell them calmly you cannot handle the situation until they have calmed down. By doing this, you have been professional, humble and commanded cooperation and respect.

Be the Leader not the Follower

In most situations with a difficult person, they will take the lead in the conversation. In proper communication, two people alternate in the leading and following during a conversation. A conversation with a difficult person as the leader will be confrontational. Take charge and swiftly change the topic, redirect the questions, set a new tone and let the communication flow towards a solution.

Place attention on them

Difficult people characteristically like to place their spotlight on you. They point out and dwell on what is wrong or what you are not doing right. Their consistent focus is the problem and not the solution. Their intention is to take control. You should take charge and not fall for their trick of getting defensive. The best way is to put them in the spotlight in a very easy way by asking them probing and practical questions and gradually defuse their difficult behavior.

Communication is the greatest tool in dealing with conflicts. You, therefore, need to make your communication skills better all the time. With better communication skills dealing with irrational people, becomes easier.

 

Image: iStock

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