4 Useful Tips on How to Communicate in Stressful Situations
A post from our Communication blog
Written by Ashley Andrews
In a highly competitive work environment, stressful situations are inevitable. Differences of opinion, diverse work habits, and different personalities can all lead to disagreements when stress and tension come into play. Although being able to communicate effectively and maintaining an even temper are both crucial when it comes to resolving these disagreements, not everyone has the natural ability to handle situations like this.
The good news is, with a bit of practice you can easily learn key habits that'll allow you to deal with stressful situations at work. To help you get started, here are 4 useful tips on how to communicate in stressful situations.
1) Know yourself
Before you try to understand how to communicate with others during tense situations, you need to understand how you deal with stress. Different people react to triggers differently. Some might entirely avoid confrontations, while others may react aggressively. Although neither of these are the ideal way of reacting to tense situations, it's crucial that you know what your response would be.
You need to find a comfortable middle ground between these two and react in a thoughtful way. Knowing yourself will allow you to understand your reactions and correct your behaviour. If you're prone to aggression, you need to identify the warning signs and reel yourself back. This article
from Skills You Need will give you some examples for these.
Listening is one of the most important things you can do in difficult situations. Always keep in mind that you're not the only one feeling stressed and out of sorts. When you're working with a team on a project with an approaching deadline, the entire team is feeling the pressure. Unfortunately, stressful situations tend to restrict our ability to listen to others, to consider their opinions and solutions.
To avoid making this mistake, try to take a deep breath and pay attention to those around you. It can be a little difficult to keep a level head when everyone around you is unable to do so, but it will pay off in the end. If even one person can stop and listen instead of contributing to the stress, they can reduce the stress levels of their entire team. The Free Management Library
website has some useful tips on how to do this.
One of the worst things you can do in stressful situations is to lose your temper. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, since people naturally have less control and patience when they're under stress.
While a long rant to your friends outside of working hours might help, letting your temper loose in the workplace among your colleagues can do more harm than good. The best way to deal with this is to relax and focus on the task before you. If you can't focus, it might be a good idea to remove yourself from the situation and take a short break.
4) Stay quiet when you're angry
When you're angry, the best way to communicate is to not communicate at all. When we're annoyed, we tend to blurt out what we have on our minds, and that's never a good thing. Words said in anger can never be taken back and if you're not careful, you can seriously jeopardise your career. The best way to avoid this is to stay quiet
and try to calm down.
If you remember and follow these four points, you'll be able to navigate tense situations at work without offending people or compromising your team's (and your own) productivity. Although it doesn't always come naturally, especially when you're not in the mood to be polite, but the results are well worth the effort.
Do you have any other tips on how to communicate in stressful situations that you would add to the list? Let us know!