We all have had our fair share of encounters with difficult people. Some people just do not know when to stop, some think they are entitled, while some are just plain rude. However, we are often unaware of our own responses when dealing with difficult individuals. We could be inadvertently encouraging these difficult behavior if we are not careful enough. Fret not; here are 4 ways to deal with difficult people which could prove useful.
Plan your strategy
There are variations to these difficult people. Some are pushy and demanding, some are oblivious to your situation and some cannot decide. So think of how you are going to approach these people and plan your strategy. In which case, decide where your meeting should be held and how long is it going to be.
Re-frame the environment
The environment plays a huge part in influencing people. When you are in someone’s comfort zone, you know you can do nothing to change the way they are. For example, the moody receptionist will remain empowered as long as he is sitting behind the counter, his comfort zone. So what you would want to do is choose a softer and more open environment. Catch him at the elevator and negotiate your terms. An environment that works best for difficult customers is somewhere public, where they will have to maintain proper demeanor.
Set a time-frame
Some customers can go on, completely disregarding the other waiting customer at the couch, or the pile of paperwork you were initially working on before they disrupted. In this case, it is best for you to set a time frame and be upfront about it. Tell them that you only have 15 minutes for them, and if they require more time, perhaps send an email.
Reduce attending behavior
Sometimes, we could be unknowingly encourage their difficult behavior. For example, nodding at every word they say and looking at them attentively while they ramble about the issue at hand. These are attending behaviors. When you know that they are being difficult and wasting your time, reduce attending behavior. Maintain less eye contact with them, pretend to pack your things, or fidget with your laptop. Respond lesser to them. This is an obvious attempt to inform them that you are busy.
Hence, it is important for us to observe our demeanor when attending to difficult customers. Try to find a balance where you do not come off as rude but you can still fend away these difficult customers.
Kiirtaara is a proud 24 year old Malaysian from the small town of Ipoh. She is a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) graduate and is currently a part-time freelance writer with a full time job. She is also a huge mental-health enthusiast and avid animal lover.