Getting Along with Family, Friends and Difficult Clients during the Holiday Season
November 28, 2012 @ 1:14 pm by ACT
Holidays are an interesting time and, while full of joy, can also be littered with difficult relationships and conversations. This can quickly ruin a good meal and the holiday spirit! In this blog I want to talk about a specific tactic that you can use to quickly diffuse these tough conversations and keep the joy of the season.
Usually our response to a difficult conversation, or person, focuses on where we disagree. After they say what they have to say, most of us come back with a different perspective and opinion. We tend to automatically focus on the part of their argument with which we vehemently disagree. Years ago I heard psychologist Dr. Donald Moine discuss something called the “100 + 1% principle”. Using the “100 + 1% principle” means that you find the 1% in the upset person’s argument that you agree with and agree with it 100%. In other words, in your head you may completely disagree with 99% of what the upset person just said. Your natural tendency will be to verbalize this disagreement. However, the wise individual holds his or her tongue and first talks about the 1% of the person’s statement that DOES make sense. This 1% agreement must be true and genuine or the upset person will likely just feel manipulated and become more upset.
When you agree with that 1% it is important to show that you agree with it INTENSELY (i.e., 100%)! You will fail if you simply throw out a brief pacifying statement of agreement and then spending 10 minutes enthusiastically disagreeing with the rest of what the person said. Therefore, if your goal is to increase the person’s anger then immediately jump to the point of disagreement. If you want to diffuse them to a more reasonable state of mind then find the part which you genuinely agree with and agree with it completely. If you feel it is necessary, then and only then, feel free to share your perspective as an additional thought (rather than a combative thought) by using a segue such as “in addition to what you said” or “also” or “an additional angle”. Using these phrases work much better than agreeing with them and then using the word “but,” which is a combative word and usually erases anything that came before it! For example, if they said something extreme at the family holiday party like, “Your profession is full of crooks, cheaters and liars!” you would respond with, “You know, I agree with you completely that my profession has its’ share of low-integrity people who do exactly what you are saying and it disgusts me…at the same time, it is also full of people who actually care about their clients and want to impact lives for the positive. That is how I am trying to live.”
Remember that the most powerful person will dictate the mood of the discussion. So keep your power, keep your joy and have a great holiday season full of love, kindness and gratitude.