Real Solutions: 20 Ways to Deal with Difficult People

 

17. Cultivate small talk
"Ask people about the things they like -- music, movies and pastimes -- to disarm them, get them talking and make them feel comfortable with you. Then you can bring in magazine clippings or start conversations that create goodwill: 'John, I saw this article about that band you like'; 'Hey, Mary, I found this great Italian restaurant, and I know how you love lasagna!'"

18. Keep your temper
"Here's one trick -- don't raise your voice. As a matter of fact, when you get into a tough spot, keep your voice at a normal volume and pitch it slightly lower than usual. Not only does it keep the emotional level even, it also actually forces the person to listen to you."

19. Dish out compliments
"Too often, we focus on what people are doing wrong. Try to catch them doing something right and comment on it. It makes people feel less under attack."

20. Stay open-minded
"When someone criticizes you -- regardless of how you feel about them -- take the opportunity to be responsive and consider how you could improve. It's actually an opportunity for growth!"

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