Keeping your cool, Cobblers' style

Today’s topic: Keeping your cool, what to do when a client upsets you.  

This one brought out lots of great advice.  Starting with, if it is heated and in person, walk away before it gets out of control.  

Yes, if you’re angry, you should walk away.

If it is via email, write a response, then take 24 hours to cool off. Then go back to rework with more perspective.  We all know not to hit the send button in the heat of the moment, but sometimes drafting an email response can keep you from “stirring the pot” for the next several hours while you’re waiting to calm down.

What do you do if your clients constantly upset you?  If you find this is an ongoing issue with clients, create a decision tree and use it to stick to your plan.  Try to understand why you may be having a problem.  Were you clear?  Is your client feeling a time pressure?  Is it just a misunderstanding?  

If you get caught in a heated moment, and someone is yelling at you, trip L.E.A.P.S. (Listen, Emphasize, Acknowledge, Paraphrase & Summarize).  It’s a police and salesperson trick to de-escalate a situation.

One Cobbler really recommends Verbal Judo by Dr. George J. Thompson.  This book can show you how to listen and speak more effectively, engage others through empathy, avoid the most common conversational disasters, and use proven strategies to successfully express your point of view.  Exactly what you need in a heated conversation.

Last but not least, try to avoid the conflict altogether by creating best practices.  One example was sending a client a note after a certain phase of work has been completed.  In the note, let them know how it went with a reminder of the agreed upon work completion date.