If you ever find yourself in a situation where it is rapidly going downhill and you're wondering how to pump the brakes and regain control (of the situation), here are some tips to, you got it, turn the beat around so you're feeling good about the interaction.
6 Tips To Try:
- Recognize that all is not lost and if possible take a deep breathe to reframe the situation before you determine your course of action. Sometimes choosing just to listen can give you the time and space you need to determine your approach.
- When you're ready to interject, begin by acknowledging the elephant in the room or what's happening. I've done that in a training situation where defenses were up and I could tell there was resistance to the material I was sharing. So instead of ignoring it and continuing to pile on information, I knew wouldn't be received (or sink in), I paused and brought the elephant (the big scary problem) into the classroom. I acknowledge that I felt the tension and I advised that I was taking a time out to address it. You can do that if it's a performance review, a networking call, a retail encounter, or whatever it is. Acknowledge that you notice what's going on instead of ignoring it.
- Don't expect the recipient to immediately acknowledge that what you "think you see" is actually happening. Be aware that what you see is your perspective so you even may want to frame by saying, I want to share this because this is what's coming up for me. I may be way off base but will you allow me to share my thoughts. I guarantee you that you will feel better, even if the recipient (s), choose not to acknowledge what's happening. Some people require additional time for processing and aren't the confrontational type so would rather to swiftly move by discomfort. Should your recipient (or receiver of the communication) receive your message, be vulnerable and have a conversation about what happened. Follow the conversation where it goes until you've established a space that feels good to proceed.
- Find common ground to enter into the conversation. Ride any positive waves that enter the conversation. You can tell when someone is passionate about a topic because you can immediately hear it in their voice. Continue that path and leverage to navigate to other topics you intended to cover.
- Detach yourself from the outcome knowing that you will get your chance and that it doesn't have to be today. If you feel you can't do that, then find your way to bring the conversation to a close and allow yourself the opportunity to have a second chance at that conversation.
- Do yourself a favor and do a lessons learned review from the situation. Evaluate what went right and what went awry. Ask yourself: how would I like to handle this situation should it arise again.
As Gloria Estefan sung, turn the beat around. Yes, you can. I believe we are all well equipped to turn challenging situations around. With maturity, we become better able to handle whatever life throws our way. Do not give up hope if a situation ended badly. Know that you can create your second chance to create an outcome that feels good to you. Even if it's, I did my best and I'm now putting this to rest.