Tips for Handling Difficult People


• Handle angry people by diverting their attention. Say the person’s name in a friendly, clear voice. Then
add in a calm tone “Let’s step back a moment” or “Hold on a second.” That shifts the people’s focus away from what’s upsetting them.
• Force complainers to slow their speech rate and organize their thoughts by telling them that you must write down what they’re saying. Bonus: You’ll have a record of information you’ll need to deal with the complaint.
• Fed up with a co-worker? Confronting the colleague in private is more productive—
and rational—than ignoring him or complaining behind his back.
• Don’t recoil or lean away from an irate person. Stand straight and hold your ground.
If you’re sitting, keep your back erect and don’t slouch. Avoid slumping, fidgeting and
looking panicked.

- The Best of Communication Briefings: Volume II

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