Today I was at work and someone was really ratty with me on the phone because they said we had a bad line. It sounded like they were on a short fuse, and because the phone was a bit crackly as we spoke, I got the brunt of it! There wasn’t much I could do about the quality of the connection, no one else I spoke to during the day experienced the same problem, so I am pretty sure it wasn’t my phone that was the issue.
I was really pleased with my reaction when I looked back afterwards. Rather than responding in what could have been an antagonising tone I had the presence of mind to take a moment and then ask for their number in case I needed to call her back. This seemed to cool the situation down and we got on much better from that point onwards.
The call got me thinking about how much our tone of voice matters in our communications with others. On the call I dealt with today the tone from the lady on the other end came across as negative and grumpy. Thankfully I did my best to sort the situation out because I was mindful. Had I reacted in the same way to her there would have been a complete communication breakdown.
So what got me through it mindfully? As she said the comment and as I picked up on her tone I labelled the emotion. I simply said to myself ‘Grumpy’. Just that act of labelling made it all less personal. In addition the act of labelling added some comedy into the situation for me. So rather than picking up on her emotion I was smiling at the other end of the line. Perfect.
Mindfulness is a great way to ensure you have the presence of mind to deal with others in the best way possible. Learning to take a few deep breaths before you respond to someone is often all it takes to create better relations. Learning to label is a great way to make problems less personal.
Come on a Revitalise day to see how you could benefit from a more mindful approach to life.