It is a fact that the media world has its fair share of ‘impossible people’. Carmen Lerm offers some insights and steps for keeping your head “when all about you, are losing theirs and blaming it on you”.
Advertising, promotions, websites, social media – all necessary components of a business’s marketing strategy but all of them “put you out there” and expose your business to public opinion and feedback – both good and bad.
While online portals provide a brilliant tool to connect with customers and listen in on what a target audience think about a brand, there are those people who will find ways to stir up trouble. And, whether you participate in social media or not, people with a complaint will find a platform to share it.
As wonderful as it is to receive positive comment and validation from the public most businesses will, at some time or another, have to deal with a client or customer who is difficult. Someone who cannot be pleased, cannot be placated – an Impossible Person!
It is also a fact that some people simply aren’t compatible and you may cross paths with someone in the course of your day that, although affable most of the time, will mix with you (and your business) like oil with water.
Most truly ‘impossible people’ do not perceive that there is anything wrong with their actions or response – they feel justified in their behaviour and mind set and it is extremely difficult as a business owner to know how to handle a disgruntled member of the public who is being impossible.
· Do not be confrontational, but do stand your ground and be confident on your point. Face the facts, and accept responsibility for only your own faults.
· Understand that it’s not you. This can be surprisingly difficult, considering that impossible people have complete mastery of blaming skills – blaming is what impossible people do, and they do it well.
· Stay calm and guard against anger! Staying calm in the heat of the moment is paramount. Do not, under any circumstances react violently. Try and redirect the situation to something positive.
· Realise that you cannot deal with impossible people the same way you deal with everyone else. And protect your self-esteem by reminding yourself that this person’s opinion is not necessarily the truth.
· Be a manager. Manage the impossible person, so that they deal less damage to you and your business. You must understand and manage the mindset of the impossible person without casting blame and without giving in to anger.
· Be a possible person – be the opposite of the impossible person and live as an example of tolerance, patience and humility.
· Don’t disagree with them; find ways to be agreeable even if they are wrong. Agreeing with impossible people sidetracks their steam as they continually look for arguments.
· Make sure you do not make impossible people angry. Don’t give them a reason. Instead, think of their outbursts in the same way you would a child’s tantrum, but do it subtly (in such a way that they can’t lash out at you for being ‘condescending’). This takes practice, but it is a social skill worth developing.
It is a fact that somewhere along the line you will come in contact with negative comments, feedback and opinions about you and/or your business. Usually these are made by members of the public who can be quickly placated with careful diplomacy and efficient handling, but sometimes you may have to deal with an ‘impossible person’ who does not want to be placated or finds all of your efforts to correct the situation unsatisfactory.
In this instance, if it is via a social platform, you have the option of blocking this person from making further comment. And treat your experiences with these kinds of people as a valuable life lesson – after all, once you have dealt with them, getting along with everyone else will be so much easier!”
Carmen Lerm is CEO of integrated marketing and design agency, FusionDesign.