From the bedroom to the boardroom, in the heat of the moment people say and do nasty things that cannot be unsaid, unheard or undone.
How do you control a confrontational situation so that it doesn’t escalate or deteriorate into a nasty situation from which there is no coming back?
Research by various universities and organizations shows that between 55 and 93 percent of all our communication is by means of the non-verbal cues we give off.
From your body posture to your tone to the micro-muscle movements made by your face, people read the intention and meaning behind your words through your voice, tone, the way you hold your body and the emotions you try to hide on your face.
That also means that all the words and arguments you’ve so carefully prepared … well actually count for almost nothing.
So how do you use this knowledge to your advantage?
Posture & Feelings
Have you noticed how you can tell what someone is feeling the moment they walk into a room?
Have you also noticed that you hold your body differently when you feel different emotions? For example, you may find you hold your head down when you are depressed or that you walk really upright with a bounce in your step when you’re feeling perky?
Your emotions show through the posture you hold.
There are any number of reasons as to why this happens, but what you need to know is how to use it to your advantage:
Right before you go into a difficult meeting or confrontation
Close your eyes and think back to a time when you were feeling really confident.
This can be anytime, perhaps you won an award, perhaps it was your wedding day; whatever you choose is right for you.
If you are doing this just before you go into a meeting, I’d recommend a memory that comes to mind easily, as its odd how sometimes when you need to recall these moments your mind just becomes a complete blank?
Now settle yourself into the memory completely:
– What were you wearing?
– What were you seeing?
– What were you thinking?
– What were you feeling?
– What was the temperature around you?
– Was it day or night?
– What can you hear around you?
Once you have settled far enough into the memory, you’ll find that the feeling from that moment or time fills your body.
Now, you can walk into the meeting feeling relaxed, confident and setting a completely different tone from the outset.
This more relaxed attitude enables you to listen without a filter or fear and you are more likely to aim for an amicable solution. It also helps to defuse any potential issues and antagonism from parties on the other side of the table.
Anchoring is an alternative option
If it takes too much time to go through the abovementioned process before going into a difficult meeting, then you have the choice to run the process when you have spare time, and anchor the feeling somewhere on your body.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed how feelings happen in waves, with clear peaks and troughs.
When you anchor an emotion, use an easy to create movement like circling your finger and thumb around one of your wrists. Steepling your fingers also works well as it’s seen as a positive body language trait in many corporate situations.
What’s key to the movement you choose is that you don’t make this movement naturally or too often.
Once you’ve identified the movement you are going to make, immerse yourself in the emotion and as the emotion reaches one of its peaks, which usually lasts about three seconds, make the movement that you’ve assigned and then release it.
Anchors are like batteries, they can be charged, recharged, and discharged. So for a stronger effect, repeat the process a number of times.
Now, when you are ready to walk into the confrontational or difficult situation, simply trigger the anchor or charge as you walk in, causing the feeling to be released into your body. The benefit of having an unobtrusive movement is that you can use it when necessary inside difficult meetings.
Just remember to recharge the anchor so that you always have it around when and where you need it.