Hinges of Communication Part 3/26

  1. SLAMMED doors

Have you ever been rudely interrupted or verbally “slammed”? It makes for a quick exit to the thought, the proposal, the process or the negotiations.  Even when the slam is unintentional, it jars your thoughts and possibly your actions or reactions.

I admire sales people.  Their skin must be made of hard oak.  They are tenacious in their desire, drive and destination.  When a door is slammed on them, they keep on opening new ones.  They don’t take it personally, and usually it isn’t. They understand the percentage rule of x amount of “no’s” equal a certain amount of “yeses.”  If you can keep in mind that not every “slam” is personal, you will become a better leader.

Then there’s the intentional slam—words spoken in anger, haste and frustration. These usually don’t make the best communication door.  Regret and shame, like a scarlet letter, hang on your door afterwards. Maybe.  Let some people know you won’t take it—abuse, disrespect or discourteousness—anymore, and close them out of your life: This is a good thing.

Approach anger, frustration or disappointment in a more humane and adult way.  Express your feelings, don’t threaten, and stand tall.  There’s no need to shout, slam doors or otherwise act like a five-year-old.  When you stand your ground, express your feelings, with the word, “I,” instead “you,” which indicates your  pointing the finger at that person, it softens the slam. E.g.: “I feel slighted by your behavior,” not, “You always ignore me at meetings.”

Take responsibility.  Own up to mistakes and learn from them. Take the “lame” out of “blame,” and “b” forthright in your course of action. You make mistakes, you’re human.  Foibles are inevitable.

Each relationship—personal and professional—has its own barometer of trust and commitment.  Heated conversations may occur and harsh words spoken, but you can move on.  Breathe. Prioritize the situation for the long term and chose the best cause of action that is helpful for all involved. As a wise man said, “Choose your battles.”

Remember, life’s a circle and people come and go in your life for a reason. Treat them with respect when they are in your circle of influence and they will most likely repay you with respect and admiration.

HINGE: Forgive.  Forgive yourself and the other person. Check each situation with a menu of observations and objectivity. Watch too for the words, always, never, should, and every time;  they weaken the argument and put tentacles on the tongue of refute. A door slammed too hard can come off its hinges and then it’s more difficult to repair; emotions and feelings are the same.

“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity?  Our attitude toward it.  Every opportunity has a difficulty and every difficulty has an opportunity.” J. Sidlow Baxter.


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