Awkward business-related situations cannot be avoided. How you respond will either bring on the drama, or deflect it.
Here are 8 common workplace situations with 8 drama-free responses:
- You realize that you were wrong. Apologize. (For some people, apologizing is a painful process. Remember that a genuine apology does not require a lot of words, only sincerity and eye contact.) – I’m sorry for not coming through for you. I can complete the project by tomorrow. Boom; apology and resolution.
- If you aren’t interested in attending a networking event, politely decline. (“Ignoring” is not a reply, especially in the business world.) – Thank you for the invitation, [unfortunately] I can’t attend. No excuses or explanations required; unless they probe. Then, repeat response.
- If someone unsubscribes from your newsletter or unfriends you, move on. (Do you really want to know why? Do you really care? Don’t you have more important things to work on?) Yes, we wonder why, but short of calling them up and putting them on the spot…awkward.
- When someone cancels their appointment 2 times in a row, and at the last minute, move on. (Yes, it is rude and inconvenient. You learned all you need to know about them; don’t give it another thought!) – Accept their reason. You have the choice to continue the relationship or not. You could send a reminder note the day before to increase the chances that they “show up.” But who wants to babysit!
- When someone abbreviates your name or assigns you a nickname upon meeting you, calmly repeat your preference. (If they insist, you know that relationship isn’t going far.) – My process is, if I’ll be seeing them again, I’ll correct them, if not, I let it go. Just don’t get huffy. When people abbreviate a name, usually, it’s their way of developing (quickly) familiarity.
- When someone’s comments are defensive, challenging, or point blank opposing, you are not required to engage. (They are exposing more about themselves than they realize.) – Nod and let them have their rant. Have you ever tried reasoning with someone who is all worked up to a level-7? Futile.
- If a question is too personal, you are not required to reply. (It’s not necessary to reply in a horrified huff and look of outrage, that would surely peak their interest.) – Matter of factly reply, “I prefer not to discuss that.” and change the subject or excuse yourself.
- A coworker plops down next to you; they smell. (Your options are, excuse yourself, suggest they join you in the courtyard or by the window, hold your coffee cup up to your nose, or speak to them privately about it.) – I experienced this a few weeks ago; making an excuse to “whatever,” I gathered by belongings and moved to the other side of the room. If the meeting has already started, do your best to stick it out until a break, then make your move.
In my presentations, I discuss communication and social skills and how using these skills helps diminish the drama.
Rosalinda’s remarks: Naturally, as with all dilemmas and relationships there are extenuating circumstances that might need to be considered; please use common sense.
Helping Businesses and Individuals Find Success Through Better Communication and Social Skills
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, Social Skills and Civility Presenter, Media Source, and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.”
Presentations are available to support HR policies, sales teams, up and coming managers, millennials & new-hire orientation process, service technicians, professional development events, conferences, college/university students, interns. For more information, please contact me, 650.871.6200.