I ask participants in my seminars if they know anybody who has acted like a jerk. I then ask them if they have ever been a jerk. Virtually everybody in the room sheepishly raises their hand. I then remind them that they are nice people by and large although at times they can act less than exemplary. They giggle, knowing I just hit a nerve.
Well, my friends, as the true professional that you are, it is in your best interest to display a little empathy at times when your clients and prospects briefly exhibit the behavior of a… jerk. It will pass.
Here are nine reasons why people can come across as… difficult.
- They Are Tired & Frustrated. Think of how you felt after a long drive or having been lost in a new neighborhood after dark. You simply were not at your best and, when your patience was tested in this situation, chances are you came across a bit terse.
- They Are Confused. In addition to being embarrassed, confusion can lend itself to a shortened temper. When possible, slow down your explanation and allow the details to sink in.
- They Are Defending Their Ego/Self-Esteem. Nobody likes to feel foolish or inept. When we are challenged and made to feel less than squared away, we often come across as unbearable or defensive.
- They Feel They Have Been in a Similar Situation. We have been here before and been treated poorly. Why should this time be any different? “You are not going to get away with it this time, buster.”
- They Feel Ignored. We are all big shots in our own world. We want to be paid attention to. This is as normal as the day is long. Some days, we can put up with disregard longer than others.
- They Are Under the Influence of Alcohol/Drugs. Funny things can happen when our blood begins to thin, and our mental functions become somewhat impaired. You know it, and I know it. I’m not quite sure what I can add to this scenario except to weigh your words wisely along with your eye rolls.
- Language. “Don’t you understand me. I’m speaking slowly, or louder than usual?” And you? I can’t understand a word you are saying. When people do not speak the same language frustration can easily enter the equation. Capiche?
- They Are in a Bad Mood. People can feel bad, sad, mad, or angry. When the answer is “bad,” there is little you can do but allow time to run its course. “I just don’t feel good and I don’t want to be nice today.” This can be physical or mental. In both instances, audience beware!
- They Are in a Hurry. You don’t understand. I am late and have to meet someone right away. Can’t you just make change and hurry up? This is a biggie.
There you have it. Nine reasons why people can come across a little less than squared away. Now that you know it, you can better deal with it.
Mike Marchev is a down-to-earth motivating sales trainer, author and business coach who specializes in the travel industry. For a complimentary copy of Mike’s 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number “12” in the Subject Box. His daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.