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Thought of the Week: Rudeness?

Rudeness? Try “I’m sorry” first.

We have all faced a rude prospect or customer. This can be most frustrating when we believe their anger is misdirected and unjustified. While your first reaction may be to point out their error, you may find it more beneficial to simply say, “I’m sorry. It appears to me that I must have said or done something to offend you. I apologize.”

Nearly every time the person is totally caught off guard by my response and stops dead in their tracks. They instantly recognize that their behavior towards me was inappropriate, and they often reply with, “No, I’m sorry. It wasn’t anything you did. It was (whatever).”

At this point I take the opportunity to make a connection by demonstrating empathy for their situation. “No worries. I’m so sorry to hear about (whatever). Is there something I can do to help you?”

Most cases they thank me for understanding and become much more reasonable, often even friendly, as a result of this approach. We have to remember that everyone has a bad day once in a while. This is a great way to help someone find their way.



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