If you fly at all today, it’s a fact of life that airlines overbook flights and when planes can’t take off there’s no back-up. Such was the case on my last vacation. An earlier flight had been cancelled due to mechanical problems and there was no plane available to take its place. The airport was hot and crowded with anxious, frustrated people who had been delayed all day. The harried desk agent was as stressed as the delayed travelers.
One angry passenger after another abused and bullied the poor agent. It wasn’t her fault the plane couldn’t depart and she was doing her best to reroute unfortunate travelers. A young woman stepped up to the counter. She quietly said,“Thank you.” The agent looked up and said she’d be with the woman in a second. The passenger said, “No rush, my plane’s not going anywhere.” They both laughed.
When the agent was ready the woman stated specifically what she needed – a way to get to San Diego by noon the next day. She was polite and clear. She defined success and stopped talking.
It takes skill and finesse to get what you want in volatile situations, and knowing the rules can make all the difference.
Speak with courtesy
Courtesy doesn’t undermine your message, it makes it stronger.
State your view about the subject, not the person
If you need something, state what you want. Keep it simple. It shows you as confident, open-minded and willing to listen.
State opinion as opinion, not fact
Your tone of voice and words combine to create an impression; don’t come off as a know-it-all.
Communicate to learn, not to win
When you communicate to clarify and learn, you win the respect of others. Win with influence, not domination.
Think yes – not no
If you focus on finding the intersection of ideas, you will listen better and show respect for others. Thinking on agreement keeps you honest without being unkind.
Getting what you want is all about conveying respect, listening closely and communicating clearly.
Check out this video for a humorous example of the importance of communicating clearly.