More often than we would like or expect, we find ourselves in the position of negotiating with people that are rude, aggressive or dishonest when working for or delivering a training material. We can await for lies or denial of a real communication. Such negativity tactics may provoke a negative reaction from our part and the conflict created may bring damages to our reputation. Therefore you must be a good negotiator to respond in an efficient and constructive way to such behaviors and achieve your goals.
1. Think, don’t react.
A lot of people react to pressure by getting angry, dismissing the discussion and copying the behavior of the one in front of them. Reacting to the other’s pressure, you are allowing him to dictate the course of the discussion and give him power over you. Think, don’t react. Don’t say anything at first, no matter how angry or frustrated you are. Relax and control yourself, either by counting to 10 or asking for a recess. Channel your energy in finding an adequate strategy.
2. Ask yourself: Why is he reacting this way?
Although it may seem odd, those who manifest a difficult behavior are not actually difficult people. They can be rather normal, but under certain stressful situations, react in an uncommon manner. Or may have deficiencies in sustaining a negotiation. Before putting a label on them, put yourself in their shoes and see if you can find any motive for such behavior. “Am I under the pressure of time or other responsibilities? Is my lack of experience on the discussed subject so obvious?” Don’t try to find an excuse but rather understand their motivation and try to normalize the discussion.
3. Ask yourself: Am my contributing to this situation?
It may happen that this behavior is a reaction to your provocation. If you interrupt him, you minimize his ideas or refuse to discuss alternatives to the solution you offer. By acknowledging your negative contribution to the discussion and apologizing, you will radically change the other’s behavior.
4. Decide if you want to change the course of the discussion
It’s not always worth confronting directly a difficult participant, because it is possible that his behavior may prevent you from achieving your goal. You may be dealing with a influential manager that you wouldn’t want to upset.
5. To change the course of discussion, negotiate rules
An effective way of adjusting the conversation partner’s behavior is stating directly what displeases you and suggesting a new topic. Display an attitude which you would like to see in the other person. When contradicted, listen, admit your point of view and the right to disagree and express your opinion in the most positive way you can. Avoid rejecting his position from the start. Ask questions as: How can we resolve this issue? When expressing your perspective, give all the reasons and arguments, not only your conclusions. Explain the benefits both parties would have if you agree and accept other opinions.
How do you usually handle difficult situations?