This weekend I got caught in the lobby. I probably don’t need to say much more than that. We all get caught in the lobby … or the parking lot … or the hallway … or the church bathroom … at one point or another. Maybe you got caught this weekend.
There have been plenty of times that I escalated a situation rather than diffusing it when I got caught. I’ve gotten defensive. I’ve gotten hurt. I’ve flat out gotten angry before. Maybe you have too.
But every once in a while, by some miracle, I manage to make things better. Whew. So, I’m writing this little post to myself to help remember how much better these situations can end when I handle myself in a better way. While I can’t be responsible for someone else’s response, I most certainly am responsible for mine.
When you get caught in the lobby and you can literally feel the frustration and anger pouring off of someone, remember these things, and maybe, just maybe, they might help diffuse the situation a bit.
- Use your super sweet voice. You know you’ve got one. Yes, you hear pretty regularly that you are intimidating. Well, a frustrated, angry person who is also intimidated is not a good combo. So whip out your super sweet voice, and if you can drop in your good ol’ Texas accent from yesteryear – all the better.
- An arm pat goes a long way. It is harder to be mad at someone who gently pats your arm. In fact, it might make them feel a little more connected to you. And might make them feel like you — gasp — care about them. And since you do care, it is good for them to feel that way.
- Gently but firmly remind them of our mission and our purpose. “You know it is never our desire to hurt or upset you. Our heart is to make sure that we are connecting the unconnected to Christ and helping them grow to full devotion. You know how much we love people – you and the others we are trying to reach as well.” All good things to say.
- Connect them with someone who can follow up and follow through. Don’t just calm them down and walk away, Lori. This is what you are tempted to do so often! Make sure to get them connected with a staff member who can help them meet whatever need they have going on.
- And don’t forget to smile. The. Whole. Time. No matter what. Smile. Even if you are biting the inside of your cheek a little.
Ok ladies, what other advice do you have for me? What are other good things to keep in mind when you are trying to diffuse the situation when you get caught?
(originally posted August 27, 2012)