If you don’t know, my partner Christy Crouch and I are both on LinkedIn, which is a business networking site.  One of the cool things about that site is that they have a Q & A section, where you can either ask a question or answer questions related to business.

One person asked if outbursts in the office, or with sales clients, customers or people were good or bad, and why.  Obviously he wasn’t advocating yelling at people.  His question was more along the lines of, “If someone says or does something wrong to you (office environment) is it better to have an outburst or remain silent?”  He went on to ask if you do have an outburst, can you come back later and apologize, and will it mean anything?

So, as I started answering the question on the site, I thought that a) this answer is for life, relationships, etc. as well as for sales, clients and business, and b) this is a good blog subject.

I mean, don’t we always find ourselves in situations with colleagues, clients, friends and loved ones, where we either do have an outburst, or metaphorically bite our tongues so hard they could bleed?

Every now and then, don’t your clients get mean and nasty and demanding?  Every now and then don’t you get into it with your significant other, children and friends?

Don’t co-workers get your goat?  Don’t you just want to tell your manager that he/she doesn’t know enough to find water if they fell out of a boat?

And isn’t it really a hard place to be when you had the best of intentions with what you said or did?

For example, one of my coaching clients asked for help because he got an offer for a listing, right after a sizable price reduction, and thought that his seller should be happy to take the offer.  The seller got mad at my client and accused him of just wanting the sale for himself.  My client truly felt that this was the best offer they were going to get, had information from the buyer’s agent that these people were making this offer and moving on, and tried to convey that to the seller.  Before you know it, my client is taking the seller’s comments personally and defending himself and his honor against his own client.

That’s a horrible place to be, and it can be avoided….

As we teach here at You’re The Difference Sales and Life Coaching, our minds are survival machines. The little voice inside your head (which may have just said, “What little voice?”) judges, assess, generalizes, tries to protect you, keep you safe, keep you in your comfort zone, etc.

So, when you feel threatened mentally, emotionally, physically, etc., you will most likely automatically go into a “fight or flight” mode.  That’s self-explanatory, but it can show up in different ways.

Physically, you might attack (fight) or run (flight).  However, mentally and emotionally, you might verbally berate/attack or, argue with the person you feel maligned you (fight) or, you might hang up the phone, withdraw, not answer the phone or respond to an email, slam a door, give the silent treatment, etc.

The trick is, it’s all perception. It’s all how your little voice thinks it’s happening. The person who you want to yell at may feel threatened by something they perceive you said, did or are potentially thinking.  They are doing the best their little voice (read: Ego) tells them to do to survive the given situation.

If you’re on the same page with me so far, about your mind, and perception, then you can surely understand that most of our thoughts are really just opinions based on judgments, assessments, generalizations and our own experiences from the past…in other words what we think is true is our opinion based on our perception of our reality.

And if that’s the case, then we don’t really need to act on our first impulse or thought (unless of course, you’re truly facing potential physical harm, or death).

If you do any or all of the following, you will reduce the number of lost clients, friends and loved ones, as well as the number of your outbursts and your “I’m sorry’s”, etc. (and by the way, these points work for objection handling, too!)

1. Realize the person in front of you is doing the best they can in the moment, and may feel threatened by you.  Try to see the situation from their point of view.

2. Take a breath, or some time, before you verbally respond (or hit send on the email!)

3. Ask questions before making statements (like “I didn’t understand, what did you mean by that?” or other questions that are non-confronting but ask for clarification).  How many times have you argued with someone because you took something they said differently than how they meant it?  If you asked what they meant before getting upset, you would have avoided that argument.

4. If you are hurt, angry or upset and the other 3 don’t work, tell the person how you feel, not how wrong or stupid or bad they are.

It is definitely difficult to take it back once you put it out there, it’s out there (especially if it’s in print in an email, or on tape on a voice mail!).  People remember the bad much more than they remember the good.  You can be the nicest person in the world, but if you yell and call someone names one time, they’ll only remember that about you.

Scott Friedman