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How To Deal With Negative People

How To Deal With Negative People

Negative people are everywhere, although hopefully you’re not one of them. Most people prefer the idea of a calm life where problems are solved without conflict but In reality, that’s a little bit difficult to obtain. However, Daisa Catalina has some methods, a system even, that you can you to deal with the negative people you are faced with:

There are moments in our lives when we invariably end up confronting other people’s negativity. While conflicts are a natural part of our relationships, getting caught in negativity can sometimes ruin our best days. So how can we avoid falling into the trap of being put down by negative people?

This is a question that has been on my mind since childhood. I grew up in a loving family. But like most families, mine had its issues too. So the loving environment was occasionally disturbed by some pretty nasty conflicts. Most of the time, everything was latent. Still, negativity could be felt and because I was caught somewhere in the middle and never actually took sides, I was used as a means of venting frustration. Others would come to me and tell me their side of the story. I would simply listen, though in my mind it was just pointless drama which hurt and felt bad. Sadly, I couldn’t do much to change things.

So I had to develop a strategy to help me cope with the situation. In time, through trial and error, I managed to build a system that helped me avoid being dragged down by negativity. It’s been tested over and over again and works whenever I use it. Please note that this technique can be also applied effectively when dealing with difficult clients.

1. Avoid Confrontations When Emotions Are Intense

This is a general rule of successful conflict management. It’s actually what my folks didn’t do – they usually bottled up all sorts of unsaid things and acted on their emotions, when these reached a high intensity. The result was a mini-explosion, which could have been avoided if they decided to vent first and then discuss the issue.

Why should you do this?

The reason is simple. When your emotions are at peak they take you over. You stop thinking rationally and you lose your mental-emotional balance. You literally become your emotion and everything you say and do is a result of that. From that one-sided perspective you cannot make good decisions nor take proper action.

So vent your emotions first and proceed into conflict solving and solution finding afterwards.

How do you vent your emotions effectively?

I personally love to journal through them and I believe this is the best approach you can take. Journaling helps you acknowledge your feelings, which is very important for your sense of well-being. It also directs your focus and helps you go into the problem solving part too.

A second approach would be taking a walk through the park. Connecting with nature is a great way to release negativity. The physical activity will help your body release endorphins, which will give you a good feeling. Working out has similar effects too.

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And while you can take control over your own emotional response in a conflict situation, there’s always at least one other person involved. They may not have taken the time to vent out their negativity and are ready to throw it at you.

If you find yourself in such a situation, proceed with the next steps.

2. Stay Aware

When we’re confronted with strong emotions in someone else, something in us reacts as well. Our bodies get into fight or flight mode and we feel the urge to retaliate or withdraw.

The key is to become aware of these emotions, notice and acknowledge them. Denying what we feel always backfires. The easiest way to stay aware is to keep the focus on the body and the breath.

I used to make this mistake in the past. I kept repeating to myself that I am calm and I tried to calm myself down in various ways, but all failed miserably. It was only when I started acknowledging and feeling my anger, that improvements started showing.

When you stay aware, you are able to feel and notice every emotion you have, but you also have the power to look at them as an observer. You can shift from “I am angry” to “I’m feeling anger”, which makes a huge difference.

Being angry means you are one with anger. Feeling the anger means it can freely flow through you and you can consciously choose to respond from an empowered state. You just have anger, but you are not anger anymore. That makes it easier for you to let go of it, just as if you were letting go of something you hold in your hands.

I have given the above example with anger because it’s the most common situation, but it can be applied to all sorts of emotions, like shame, guilt, resentment, etc.

3. Acknowledge The Other Person’s Feelings

I’ve noticed that a conflict gets disarmed really fast whenever I agree with the other person. By agreeing, there’s virtually no more room for a confrontation, so the intensity of the other person’s emotion drops considerably.

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It’s a brilliant way to stop those people who use you as an outlet to vent their frustration or negativity. It spares you a lot of time and nerves.

What do you do when you really don’t agree with the other person?

Well, that’s the most common situation and I have a solution for that too. What you can do is agree with their feelings, not their opinions.

If they say they feel outraged because this and that happened, you can simply say “Yes, I can understand how that made you feel outraged”.

That’s it!

Truth is, they did feel outraged and your agreeing to that fact is not a lie. Of course, you may not have felt outraged in a similar situation, but that’s irrelevant.

Most misunderstandings occur because we expect others to react like we do and we hold ourselves as standards. But we’re prone to being wrong, because every individual has a different personal history and reacts in their own way.

4. Discover The Other Person’s Good Intention

Everyone enters a conflict with a good intention for themselves. That intention may be setting boundaries, freeing up repressed energy, getting more comfort, expressing themselves, etc.

The bottom line is that they get into the conflict with the expectation to get something good in the end, even if it’s just a good feeling.

These positive intentions underlie all our behaviors. But sometimes we choose destructive behaviors to fulfill such positive intentions.

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In managing conflicts, it’s wise to look beneath the surface to understand what the positive intention of the other person is and respond to that. Sometimes their behavior may hurt us. But as long as we are aware that they have a good intention and we identify it, then we can act in an empowered manner and with more kindness towards them.

Sometimes it’s difficult to identify the positive intention. And at other times we may be prone to making false assumptions, which lead us on a wrong path.

The easiest way to find out what a person really wants is to simply ask them. It’s usually something specific, so the answer shouldn’t be hard to obtain.

You can say something like: “What do you actually want from this? And what good will it bring you?”. You may want to dig a little deeper too at times, if the real intention isn’t expressed from the beginning.

Having discovered the positive intention, you can proceed with problem solving.

5. Let Go Of Being Right

I know this is a really tough one and it’s much easier said than done. But it’s an essential step.

So far I have explained how you can disarm someone’s negative emotions. The second part of solving a conflict is finding solutions together with the other person.

So the discussion shouldn’t be about who is right or who is wrong. It should be about what can be done to creatively find a common ground and a proper way to solve the issues.

Blaming and holding on to the need of being right will only amplify negativity.

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The truth lies somewhere in the middle. If you insist on being right and having things your way, you’ll recreate negativity and conflict in the future. Think about the long-term effects on the relationship and focus on finding solutions.

6. Whatever Happens, Know You Did Your Best

There may be times when you apply all the steps above and you still don’t get the expected results.

This is likely to happen when you work with lots of people and do some sort of customer service work. I know from my own experience in customer service, that some people just won’t cooperate, no matter what. You can’t please everyone, even if you strive to do your best all the time.

In the beginning, I used to feel bad about such situations. I knew how I did everything I could to help some customers and they were still unhappy. But then I understood that it was about them, not about me. I really did all I was capable of doing.

So even if you won’t reach your desired outcome, give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself for having done your best. As long as you strive to do your best, your conscience can be clean. Sometimes it’s really just about the other person and you don’t have control over their reactions and feelings.

I’ve learned this lesson the hard way and shifting the mindset from “I wasn’t able to solve this” to “I really did my best in this situation” has helped me bounce off the negativity of others very quickly.

This approach also helped me avoid getting emotionally abused by others. I acknowledged my limits and stopped trying to do everything to please everyone. I did my best as long as it was within the confined limits. If others didn’t respond well to that, I had the satisfaction of having done absolutely everything in my powers, while also keeping my integrity.

Daisa is a Personal Development Junkie keen on bringing out the Awesomeness in people. She blogs at BecauseICanDoIt.com, inspiring others to reach their highest potential, live with passion and become unstoppable.

How To Avoid Being Put Down By Negative People | Because I Can Do It

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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