Whenever you face an argument or attack, there are three ways to address it, focus on the:
1) Substance of what was said - Are their facts correct? Do they have facts to back their claims?
2) Strategy of what was said - The tone of voice, timing, motivation for the attack, or
3) Silence - Respond with a question or don't address the attack at all. Deflect attention to another topic or ignore the attack with no comment? Or use the power of silence and say nothing at all.
If you're sitting in a meeting and a colleague suddenly states you are way over budget for a project you are managing. You could:
1) Ask, "Where did you get that absurd idea?" (Silence / Question / Deflect Back )
2) Say, "No, I am way under budget and well ahead of schedule, the project report is right here. Where did you get absurd that idea?" (Substance / Deflect Back / Question)
3) Say, "You come in and make outrageous charges you know are not true. What motivates these absurd allegations?" (Strategy)
Attackers often try to hook people into an arguments about facts. If you respond, "That's not true," they gain control of the interaction and put you on the defensive.
Deflecting the pressure back on them gives you time to think and forces them to defend what they've said.
Remember your demeanor and tone of voice are all important, they convey your real meaning.
How you say it is far more important than what you say. Stay, strong, smiling and successful!
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