I have a life motto.
I think everyone should have one- and most of you probably do without even really realizing it. A mantra you say to yourself, a Bible verse you strive to live by, a quote you've heard somewhere along your path. I bring mine up often, because although I can be somewhat of a pushover- Some people or experiences will want to drive a gal to drink!
My life motto:
You attract more bees with honey than vinegar.
As it infers, people respond much better and more graciously to someone who treats them kindly and with respect, over someone who might gripe, yell, and use choice words to get what they want. It has been my experience that I ALWAYS get further being nice to the people I am working with (without becoming a doormat) than getting testy.
Today, however- my patience was tested. I was dealing with either incompetence, laziness, power trips- or perhaps a combination of all of the above! I kept my composure- as a true lady always does- but with the completely unnecessary wrenches I was being thrown- it was taking every ounce of Southern Charm in me to keep a smile on my freckled, flushed face. (Irritating people have a way of doing that to you!)
With that being said, here is my list of how to deal with irritating people and get what you want, all while keeping a grasp on your dignity and grace.
1. Just keep smiling. Don't ever let someone know they've gotten to you.
2. Keep an even, but stern voice. You can smile and still let people know you mean business!
3. Stand up straight and head-on. The perfect "you don't scare me" stance.
4. Visualize your perfect outcome. What is it that you want from them? Visualize it, and don't back down until you have it.
5. Decide if you are willing to settle for an alternative. Is what you need or want set in stone? Decide in your head what alternative you would be okay with, if any, and be gracious when it comes up.
6. "Put your heads together." If you can construct your request to be conceived as teamwork, and even as the other person's idea- you're so close to success.
7. Imagine your confrontation role model. Identify someone in your life that handles confrontation gracefully and always gets what she wants. For me, it's my mother. That woman is so convincing, she could sell underwear to a nudist!
8. Shut up. I learned this fabulously successful tip when I worked in sales for a local newspaper. You present your demand or your bottom line, and then you shut your mouth. That's it! Don't keep talking, trying to feel out your opponent- state your claim and stare. You might make them just uncomfortable enough to give you what you need. It works because people are so used to noise that silence slaps them in the face.
9. Walk away if you need to. Sometimes, the outcome you hope for just isn't going to happen. And sometimes, people think they can get more out of you because you are young/female/nice/whatever. Walking away will not only show that you mean business, but that you respect yourself too much to deal with unnecessary bologna.
10. Recap and Learn. Whether your situation was successful or not, there is a lesson in there somewhere. Play it back through your head, jot things down if you need to, and grasp what elements worked, what didn't, and how you will approach things next time.
And throughout all these steps: remain gracious. It's hard, I know (Oh, how I know!) but trust me: it really will get you far in life. Everyone likes gracious people, no one likes someone who is acting like a pill!
So go out there and attract some bees with all your new-found honey, honey!