Is it that time of the year for you?

Now is the season to plan, plan, plan. Yet deadlines still need to be met, clients still need to be attended to and the year is quickly coming to a close … This time of the year can become very stressful for many people. High stress levels can result in tense situations which can have an impact on your communication style.

A situation which may normally cause minor irritation could be a breaking point when feeling stressed. I was recently speaking with a friend who mentioned an acronym that she had developed. I liked it so much that I asked if I could share it with you. Sue graciously said yes!

The acronym is Sue’s and the expansion of points is my contribution. In this day and age of acronyms, here is one to add to your collection.

Courage to step back

Analyse your options

Logic instead of emotion

Master of actions versus reactions

Here is how this acronym could assist you.

Courage to step back

Stressful situations can become quite emotional. Gather your thoughts before responding.

If you are communicating via email , it is easy to click on Send before calming down from an angry state. Technology was supposed to make our lives easier. Use technology as a tool to assist you in your working day.

Replying to an email that causes you stress doesn’t have to be done immediately. Take control of the situation by allowing yourself some time out.

Change perspective

Step into the shoes of the person that you are having difficulty communicating with and see, hear and feel the situation through their eyes, ears and emotions.

Analyse your options

Depending upon your situation, here are some questions to consider:

  • What is the most appropriate response to the situation given what you know about the other person’s communication style?
  • Do you have enough information to make an informed decision?
  • Have you heard what the other person has to say without becoming defensive or shifting into win-lose thinking?

Logic instead of emotion

Look at the facts and detach them from the emotional component of the situation. To be able to do this, it is important to look after yourself so that when a difficult situation arises you are less likely to be affected by the emotional component.

Some strategies include:

  • Breathing deeply from the diaphragm – This helps to relax the muscles and allows oxygen to flow to the brain so that you can think in a more rational manner.
  • Regular exercise – This could be as simple as a walk that can clear the head while using nervous energy in a constructive way.
  • Become an objective observer – Stand back from the situation and experience it as if you were a detached observer.

Master of actions versus reactions

Taking responsibility for our actions is sometimes easier said than done. You can control how you feel and react to any situation. You cannot control how others feel or react. So it is important that you do what you can within, as Stephen Covey says, ‘your circle of influence’.

By recognising and checking your reactions, intentions and assumptions you are able to be the master of your own actions.

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Learn About This Author
Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.

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