We started by having some conversations with people around us. Some people shared some stories about dealing with disagreeable patrons.
First, he talked about practicing self care. The way we best deal with our patrons is by taking care of ourselves, and centering ourselves.
We also have to actively cultivate empathy. “Just Like Me” was a practice that was discovered in the 70s. When we look at another person, we need to keep in mind that, on many levels, are “just like you.” Even people on the political spectrum want to thrive. We tend to forget that. We all have biases, and we all can get reactive. Just like me, they have problems.
FInding a way to connect to the basic humanity of the person we are dealing with is a good way to disagree.
Third, one of deepest lessons about divesity is that everybody has a piece of the truth. If someone is misinformed, their “truth” has some validity to do. Even when people disagree, there is some validity.
Fourth, bringing choice to communication is good. We don’t have to react and can respond thoughtfully.
Deborah started speaking. She started with “start with heart.” Be committed to dialogue. This is about establishing a mutual and shared need. What is the goal? The beginning, the middle and the end. Ask yourself, what is your intention? We lose shared meaning, if we fail to come to the diaglogue with “I have a perspective, you have a perspective.” Stay in a position and a heart of discovery.
When we apoligize, we leave the relationship well.
What is our role in our conversations? What are we hearing and what are people saying? We are losing the ability at times to stop and prepare. The moment will come, when the conversation goes south.
Marie stared speaking: “I felt disrespected” is much better than you saying “you disrespected me.” Try to turn it into yourself (me) rather than you. It’s all about perspective. We have to prepare ourselves for these encounters. Non-verbal communication can be very ambiguous. Laughing to ourselves can be perceived from someone else as us laughing at them.
Marie likes face to face. Non-verbal behavior is ambiguous, but email and text is worse. Use face to face whenever possible. “Hey, next time, let’s talk. Let’s not start an email war.”
as a debate, and feeling like we have to “Win,” reframe that into dialogue. Instead of wanting to win, understand the other’s point of view, even if we don’t agree.
Don’t ask for someone’s opinion, but for someone’s facts. The dialogue should also be on who we want to be other than on what we want to be true. When things go wrong, reframe as a learning experience with a new awareness and an increased skill level for yourself.
They opened it up for questions. One audience member talked about writing out an email without a subject, and once she is done writing, she feels better. Great strategy!
Another director will read her emails to her admin assistant and do recommendations. Empathy is seeing, hearing and feeling for the other person. If we realize this, we know people are coming from a perspective that is different.
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