Ways to distinguish yourself #166 – Get people to respond; not react!

“It’s not what you think…it’s what you say”
– Susan Scott (from Fierce Conversations)

Think about some of your recent “difficult” conversations with people. When the other person made an inappropriate comment, Was it a reaction or a response?

Whenever the other person was unreasonable, chances were that the person was reacting rather than responding. It may not be surprising to you when I say that YOU also have played a part in making the other person react rather than respond. It is a very subtle difference. It might also be that your reaction (rather than a response) caused another reaction from that person. Someone has to break this loop leading to a downward spiral that both parties will later regret.

Since you have only one person that you can truly control – YOU, may be you should take the larger responsibility of ensuring that you say things in a manner that will elicit a response rather than a reaction. Here are some examples:

Instead of saying: You NEVER return my phone calls on time.
How about: You seem to be extremely busy as I don’t hear back from you quickly.

Instead of saying: You ALWAYS mess up things
How about: You didn’t pay attention to this job. Where you pre-occupied with something else or were my instructions not clear?

Instead of saying: I don’t think you will EVER get what I am saying
How about: Let’s see why this is hard to understand. May be I am not saying it the right way.

I am sure you are smart and if you stop and think you will come up with your own examples. It is definitely not the knowledge that is the problem. It is in the execution. Think about how you will behave next time when you are having that DIFFICULT conversation. What could you do to ensure that

a) you respond and not react
b) you don’t say something that will make the other person react

Have a great week ahead!

Note 1: Here is a Squidoo lens that links to most of the previous articles in this series:
Squidoo: Distinguish Yourself

Note 2: The first 25 entries in the series have been packaged in a ChangeThis manifesto that was published on September 07, 2005. You can download that manifesto here:
ChangeThis Manifesto: 25 Ways to Distinguish Yourself (PDF, Free)

Note 3: My latest manifesto on ChangeThis was published on August 6, 2008. This is a photographic manifesto featuring 15 of my mini sagas (stories in exactly 50 words). Here is the link:
ChangeThis Manifesto: Mini Sagas – Bite Sized Lessons for Life and Business (PDF, Free)