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The Key to Turning Negative Situations Around

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in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

Have you ever been blindsided by a comment that someone makes— particularly if it’s offensive or not true? How do you handle it? Do you react with a defensive explanation? There’s a better way: Ask a question. It will disarm the critic, give you time to think and allow you to better understand the accuser’s meaning.

Communication expert Andrew Sobel explains how the strategy works:

Situation 1: You are in the middle of a meeting and a colleague criticizes you. He says, “You sure messed things up with that project!” The criticism knocks you for a loop. What do you say? There’s a question that always works, and it’s a simple, one-syllable query—the question “Oh?”

When you say “Oh?” calmly, with an open tone, you are saying that you are surprised and an explanation is expected. Within 10 seconds, you’ll likely see your accuser backtrack and reword. You might hear something like, “Well, I mean, weren’t you late?” (You continue t...(register to read more)

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