Posted on June 9, 2014 by Jason Wright Okay, who hasn’t been here (see above)? Am I right? You’ve had a rough day full of meetings and unresolved issues and before Xavier can say, “Patience Logan”, you’ve unleashed the claws and the battlecry, “Rwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!” It feels good initially to retort and release frustration on fellow co-workers and clients. However, afterward, like a night full of heavy drinking, it allllllllllll comes back full circle and you’re left with regret, embarrassment and your tail between your legs. Once you’ve unleashed suppressed emotions there’s a scar left behind that won’t easily fade over time.. Which Mutant Best Describes Your Personality? Professor X Calm Taking: long walks on the beach is comforting. You watch the sunset and take lifes challenges one step at a time. Wolverine Emotional: It seems like you’re constantly fighting and would rather tell people exactly how you feel regardless of repercussions. Magneto Aggressive: On average you’re pretty quiet until someone challenges you one too many times. You then show the world how you really feel and in dramatic fashion. Mystique Adaptive: Neither quiet nor aggressive. You adapt to every situation the best you can though you do get lippy once in a blue moon. NOTE: If none of the above quite fits, you might be part of a special breed, or you found the cure and you’re on the path to a brighter future or…..ahhh forget it…..“Rwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!” Understanding Personality Types Unlocks New Ways to Engage With People Around You Immediately capturing the essence of each individual will open doors to the appropriate communication technique. Words are powerful on so many different levels. Words can mean the difference between life and death, success and failure, strife and ultimately understanding each other. You don’t need to be psychic like Jean Gray to understand your fellow beings. The answer is simple. We do it already at a subconscious level, approaching situations with a natural ability to recognize expressive body language, tone, emotion and more. What we don’t do is always tap into these senses right away. Staying In Control of Personal Feelings and Emotions Keeping your emotions under control in tough situations can mean the difference between building a long-term relationship or ending a contract abruptly. Here are some tips to help you stay in control: Realize that you are just as passionate about what you do as the next person and that questioning someone’s skills, knowledge, understanding, etc. can push people to unleash their opinions in a way that gets their point across. Some will yell, others will stop the conversation and calmly explain why they respectfully disagree. Put your prejudices aside. Senator Kelly was strictly anti-mutant for much of his career, which only inspired resistance and frustration in the mutant community. Similarly, your personal feeling, can interfere with a discussion that may otherwise be productive. Understand that everyone has a unique viewpoint on all kinds of subjects and while you may not agree, you can listen intently and politely. Relax your body language and your tone. There is a solution to every challenge. When faced with a difficult discussion, keep to the facts and details top of mind while putting personal feelings aside. Opportunities To Turn Around A Meeting Gone Wrong We have all had those “Rwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!” moments, when a meeting feels like it’s spiraling out of control. Here are just a few important indicators to watch out for: Crossed Arms – If a client or a team member crosses their arms, it means they’re in a defensive position either out of nervousness or because you said something that they may not agree with. If this happens, immediately become aware of your tone, expression and physical position and adapt accordingly to put him or her at ease. Self-awareness is key to de-escalating tough situations. You may even roll back your previous statement and display how much value this person provides to the project, discussion, or team. If you don’t, you might see the claws come out. Eye Contact – This next one happens all the time, though we may not always recognize it. If you’re in a meeting with someone and they glaze over, meaning their eyes and present state just drifted off into Diablo 3 recaps from last night, it’s a sign you didn’t do enough to engage the individual in the discussion. Your first step is to stop talking and bring focus back to the meeting’s main purpose. Involve the team member by asking him questions directly. To guard against wandering minds, do your best to stay on topic and involve as many meeting participants in discussions as possible to keep engagement high. Tone – This is another classic indicator of how someone really feels about any given topic. When you’ve struck a sore spot with your unwilling victims they’re going to let you know by what they say, how they say it and their body language. This is where most people lose control. The conversation will get louder, either gradually or abruptly. While the communication escalates on their side you should be thinking about how you can bring the meeting back to a more productive level. You can accomplish this by “matching” the other person’s volume and then slowly reducing the volume of your own voice. Your discussion-mate will likely respond by following your lead. EXAMPLE: WOLVERINE: Look bub, I’m not sure I can agree to this. MAGNETO: I don’t understand your hesitancy. WOLVERINE: What you’re asking me to do puts peoples lives at risk. Friends; family! MAGNETO: Nobody said this was going to be easy. How much are you willing to sacrifice!? We are the future, not them! WOLVERINE: Their future is our future. We all share the same fate! MAGNETO: YOU WASTE YOUR TIME MEDDLING IN THINGS YOU BARELY UNDERSTAND!!! WOLVERINE: YOU THINK YOU KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT SACRIFICE! WE SHARE DIFFERENT BELIEFS, BUt we can work together. One team, united. MAGNETO: What do you propose we do? Now, in this example, all CAPS indicates yelling and that last line from “Wolverine” is expressing that in these situations, you match the other persons tone both in pace and volume then slowly bring those things back down to a reasonable level. Understanding You Before You Understand Others Let’s face it, we all have an ego. Some show it more than others, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t lurking beneath the surface of your personality. However, hold back on the self-judgement. Acknowledging this human weakness does not make you any less of a person. Before you can understand how other people communicate, you must be ready to acknowledge that there are beliefs, ideals and personal preferences that you and others have the potential to share or disagree about. These differences are what make us individuals and are neither negative nor positive. Once you make peace with your personal values, you may come to enjoy the natural variety that makes us each unique. “I’m the best there is at what I do but what I do best isn’t very nice.” – Wolverine Whether you’re in Sales, Digital Marketing, Project Management or just looking to improve your quality of life, I encourage you to think about how you communicate with others. A change in tone can take a project in a whole new, and hopefully better, direction. In the event you’ve made an erroneous comment take a step back and admit your mistake with a sincere apology. Human Beings Have Opinions, and That’s Okay There’s a place for every perspective and skill. However, it takes a personality like Xavier’s to see the validity in someone’s dark side when they’ve pushed every one of your buttons. Can you nurture this perspective when a project or client relationship hangs in the balance? Getting there is all about self-acceptance and giving judgement a rest, if only for the remainder of the meeting. Agree? Disagree? Have some additional insight you would like to share? Let me know in the comments below!