What do you do if you have an escalated situation with a client where emotional outburst and personal attacks might be hurled at you?
For example, during a show & tell, or issue triaging call – where the cilent’s perception is that their expectations or standards have not been met.
The first thing that will probably happen is that your face will become really hot and flushed, and your heart will start thumping.
Your chest might feel squeezed, and you might begin to hyperventilate.
Force yourself to take a deep breath.
Grip something – pen, notepad, your seat, and focus on the tangible, tactile.
Then instead of responding to the emotions, just focus on the facts of the situation, and offer to speak to your Project Manager about their concerns.
Don’t engage, if you aren’t able to.
I use this technique when helping people who are experiencing panic attacks.
It’s the feeling of being out of control, and stripping everything out, and ‘grounding’ yourself to things you can see, touch, feel, hear, to the ‘right now’, can help you regain your footing.
I think it’s very similar when you’re in an explosive situation with a client, and the principle still holds.
Focus on facts, and defer.
Also – I’ve found that slow, deep breaths, in a controlled manner will aid in stopping that feeling of teetering at the edge of crazy.
And ice cream later. 🍨🍦
That always helps.