Government Connections - Fall 2013 - (Page 13)

F E AT U R E Three Rules for Working with Difficult and Nasty People BY DANIEL HOUSTON DANIEL HOUSTON & ASSOCIATES I n May of 2013, I presented at the Society of Government Meeting Professionals (SGMP) conference in Orlando, FL, on the topic “Working with Difficult and Nasty People.” The conference proved to be one of the best run conferences I have attended in 20 years. And what would you expect from meeting planners? In this workshop, I used humor to discuss effective tactics to deal with difficult and nasty behaviors, which I called DNBs. I shared that in my professional life whenever I tried to run away or eliminate these folks from my life, five more people exhibiting difficult behaviors, like bad pennies, showed up. So, Rule No. 1: Be aware that difficult or nasty people will always be around. The second rule is to understand that the reason the DNBs are difficult for us is that they invoke an emotional response. I asked the members of SGMP what emotions DNBs invoked in them. They enthusiastically and without hesitation yelled “frustration,” “belittlement,” “fear,” “terror,” “annoyance” and “anger.” Based on this assessment, I told the group that there is good news and bad news. The bad news first: When we are confronted with DNBs, our emotions can leap like a BMW coupe from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds, often not giving us time to adjust to our overheated emotions. The other bad news, as Muriel Solomon tells us in “Working with Difficult People” (2002), is at the very time we need to have our wits about us (to deal with DNBs logically), our emotional reactions kick in and we are left with the intellectual power of a rhesus monkey. During those times, our body allocates more energy to those negative emotional reactions than to intellectual and logical responses. And, we tend to go from frustration to anger in that 0 to 60 zone. Here is the good news: We can control our emotional responses by invoking a little self-awareness. 13

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Fall 2013

President’s Letter
Editor’s Letter
Going PlacesTee Off in Texas
Finding Contract Solutions and Savings
Three Rules for Working with Difficult and Nasty People
Meet a MemberNick Hussein, DoubleTree by Hilton Bay City-Riverfront
Conference ConnectionMeeting Planners by the Numbers
CGMP Corner
Question for Our MembersHow Have Changes in Government Meetings Impacted Your Company?
National Updates
SGMP Nation
Advertisers’ Index

Government Connections - Fall 2013