Four Communications Tips for Handling Difficult People and Situations

Four Communications Tips for Handling Difficult People and Situations

 In PR Strategy, PR Tools

Think about this for a second: How many people do you interact with on a daily basis? Now think about how many of those interactions have gone 100% smoothly. 

Unless you are an incredibly optimistic outlier, odds are you have faced challenging people or situations. In the PR industry especially, we communicate with different types of people all day long and those interactions aren’t always easy.

Whether it be with a client, vendor or coworker, handling difficult situations respectfully and with good intentions will set you up for success. Here are four solutions from a recent CareerTrack seminar in Washington, D.C. on how to handle difficult people and situations.

  1. Recognize your professional and personal limits

    Boundaries are your best friend. Figure out what you are or aren’t comfortable with when communicating with different people in the workplace. Once you set boundaries, you’ll discover that when you do help that coworker with a project or find common ground with a client, these interactions hold more value because you are comfortable with your role and you aren’t giving up on yourself in the process.

  2. Be willing to let others feel bad

    You can’t please everyone. It’s a truth that can sometimes be hard to accept. But once you accept it, sticking to your professional and personal limits becomes easier. Allowing someone in a difficult situation to feel momentarily disappointed is a better alternative to you being placed in a worse situation by compromising your boundaries out of guilt.

  3. Learn to say “no”

    Sometimes the hardest part is saying no. While you don’t want to come across confrontational or dismissive, you do want to be confident and firm in your response. The best way to do this is to practice a phrase that feels right for you. Once you’ve practiced and perfected your phrase, you’ll find using it becomes a lot easier. (Here are some ideas.)

  4. Follow through

    Now that you’ve established your limits, accepted that you can’t please everyone, and perfected your “no” phrase, the final tool in navigating difficult situations is following through. Nothing says confidence more than sticking to your decision.

Equipping yourself with tools to overcome everyday challenges in the workplace is the first step. Next is—you guessed it—putting them into action.