Does the idea of confrontation at work cause you break into a cold sweat? Whether you’re faced with an impossible workload or have come across a tricky colleague or a difficult boss and feel like you’ve been treated unfairly, the temptation to stay quiet and hope the tide turns on its own can seem like a much more appealing prospect than facing the problem head on.
Is a quieter life in the short-term really worth going home miserable at night though? Usually worse in our minds than in reality, we asked the Pitch Coach, Michael Parker and Master Life Coach and Clinical Hypnotherapist Jacqueline Hurst for their top tips for effective conflict management, mastering assertiveness and acquiring good communication skills in order to be heard in the workplace and ensure you’re able to express your views and opinions in the most professional and eloquent way possible.
Michael Parker’s 10-point push back action plan
1. It is not all about shouting loudly. That will just annoy people and you will come across as aggravating. You won't be heard.
2. Stop to think and work out that you have something worth saying, something you feel strongly about.
3. Do some homework to decide who it is you need to get onside to your message. Why should they be interested?
4. Then tailor your message to a particular individual. Or if to a group, check out their likely interest. Don't go in blind.
5. Your message will be easier to deliver and for your audience to take in if you have a focus, a single proposition.
6. Be ready to develop or embellish this main idea with no more than three supporting arguments. Not a host of reasons which won't be listened to.
7. Most important of all, take time to consider how you will come across and how you want to be seen: clear, determined, enthusiastic, positive and confident.
8. Find time to practice and for the critical meeting, try rehearsing to someone. This may feel awkward but it will pay off. It will improve your communication and it will help you overcome your nerves.
9. You may be tempted to rush or to speak fast. A great way to counter this is to take your time and... pause...a lot. You will seem more confident. Your points will come across more clearly.
10. The way you look will matter. Your audience will be taking as many clues from your expression and body language as from your words. A final tip - practice confident body language beforehand. It will stay with you in the meeting itself.
Jacqueline Hurst’s mindset mantras
11. Confidence is key. Remember you are in the role for a reason. You have skills specific to this role. Own it and be confident that your opinions ARE valid.
12. Believe in yourself. If you don't believe in yourself you will come across as someone who doesn't believe in themselves. You have to have your own back. Walk into the meeting with your head held high, believing that you CAN do this and you are capable. That is after all why you are in that role in the first place.
13. Challenge your thought process - are you choosing thoughts that create self-confidence and self-esteem or ones that are making you scared or frightened? Challenge your thoughts. Think about what you are thinking about.
14. Start looking for evidence to believe you can. Get a notepad and start writing down all the evidence you have at why you can do this. Find evidence to believe that you can. For example, if you are telling yourself ‘I can't tell them that I don't agree,’ start looking for evidence in your life where you have told people you don't agree. You've got this.
15. Pick a role model, any role model. Think Karren Brady or Deborah Meaden. Ask yourself what would they do?
16. Your input is valid. Any good employer knows that their employees are in the roles that they are best at. For example, if you are a marketing manager your skill is marketing. Remind them of this politely for example, ‘My role as marketing manager means my skills are based in this subject specifically, so my view on this would be....’
17. When working with a tricky boss it's important to remember this is NOT about you. Remind yourself of this. Sometimes people have issues they aren't dealing with, which means that it comes out sideways....it's not about you.
Also, if they've made it hard for you to voice an opinion and have an open dialogue in the past, I would say you could gently say something like, ‘I would really like to offer you my opinion here as it’s possible this project may benefit from what I have to say.’
For more tips on mind over matter from Jacqueline, visit www.jacquelinehurst.com .
It's Not What You Say, It's The Way You Say It! How to sell yourself when it really matters, £9.99 by Michael Parker is available to buy online at www.amazon.co.uk .