As a financial professional, you provide valuable services to your clients. Like it or not, when you provide services to the general public you must consistently interact with people (if you’d like to make money, that is). And whether they be clients, colleagues or employees, you’ve probably met your fair share of difficult people.
Unfortunately, you can’t just refuse to interact with them. Doing so would cut you off from a considerable demographic of beneficial contacts, referrals and clientele. You can, however, neutralize their negativity. How? Depending on your experience with the individual, try one of the following 5 tips:
1. Avoid heavy topics. Sometimes the best way to deal with negative people is to avoid topics that will trigger their negativity. Whenever possible, stick to light subjects.
2. Change the subject. Unfortunately, you can’t always dictate where the conversation goes. After giving someone a reasonable opportunity to vent, try changing the topic to something less volatile.
3. Point out the positive. Chances are, this person doesn’t realize just how negative he/she has become. Try looking for the positive in their complaints and point it out. For example, saying something like, “Sounds like you dealt with that well” or “At least you won’t have to do that again.” This might help defuse the negativity.
4. Empathize. Sometimes a listening ear is all that’s needed to release the negativity. However, it’s important that you not become a negative individual’s continual sounding board; they may come to view you as the only person who will listen to their countless rants.
5. Ignore the negativity. With some people, giving the negativity attention only causes it to grow. In these instances, ignoring the negativity may be the answer. Simply acknowledge their statements by saying something as simple as “Okay” or “I see.”
In a service industry, you are required to work with lots of people, which can be difficult at times. But once you learn how to interact with different personality types, you will become more successful. In the current economic climate, there are more negative individuals than ever, so instead of avoiding them, it’s important to learn how to best neutralize the negativity.
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