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Top Ten Ways to Confront Without Being Combative
How to Create Light Without Heat
By Michael E. Angier


1. Tell your truth with compassion. Always remember that your objective is to share your insight. It's not to be right or belittle the other. People can't hear and you can't inspire when you've triggered their defense mechanisms.

2. Seek first to understand. Before you confront or criticize, make sure you understand the situation. Your assumption may not be accurate.

3. Ask questions. No one likes to be told what to do. Used in the right way, questions can enlighten. "Would you be open to a suggestion?" "Are you aware that you do X? "Have you ever considered doing X instead of Y?" "Would you be willing to do this differently?

4. Speak from a position of personal responsibility. "When you do this, I feel this way. When you do thus and so, it affects us in this way."

5. Keep your emotions out of it. If you have strong emotion attached to the situation you're probably in judgment of the other person. If your issues are triggered, it will likely obscure or distort the communication.

6. Start with a compliment. Challenge the best that's within them. "I know you're committed to doing your best and what I saw today doesn't seem consistent with that commitment." Confront the behavior, not the person. Use the word "and" instead of "but" after a compliment.

7. Avoid sarcasm. Leave this technique to TV sitcoms. It has no place when telling the truth with compassion.

8. Avoid absolutes. When you use words like "all", "every" and "never," you dilute the power of your statement. They serve to antagonize and it's rare these absolute adverbs are ever true.

9. Pick an appropriate time. If possible, choose a time and a place that will enhance your message being heard with an open mind. Timing does matter.

10. Don't be attached to the outcome. Say your peace without trying to control the behavior of the other person. Your responsibility is to deliver the message in a way that is understood, not to force change or control behavior.

11. Bonus: Don't "should" on people--or yourself for that matter. When we tell people they should do something, we are subtly--or not so subtly--attempting to manipulate their behavior and we are judging them.

About the Author

Michael Angier is the founder and president of Success Networks International, publishers of SUCCESS STRATEGIES, INSIGHT and SUCCESS DIGEST. Success Net is an association committed to helping people to be more knowledgeable, productive and effective. Their mission is to inform, inspire and empower people to be their best—personally and professionally. Free subscriptions, memberships, books and SuccessMark™ Cards are available at Success Net.

Other Article Michael E. Angier

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