In hostile situations, what you say to yourself (self talk) has a large effect on how you feel and what you do. You can make choices regarding your own self talk. For example, when someone is being unpleasant or insulting, your internal dialogue can make it more difficult to maintain self-control.
For example, the following examples of self talk are likely to increase your anger:
• I should punch this guy out
• He has some nerve saying...
• Oh, just F*** Off
• Why don’t you just go away, a**hole
• Why does this person hate me?
• What did I do to deserve this?
• Ohmygod ... what do I do
• I don’t have to put up with this
Bet You Didn’t Know
Self-Talk—A Powerful Tool Over the last several decades psychologists have come to recognize the power and significance of what we say to ourselves, in our head, or “selftalk”. It influences our emotions much more than one would think. That’s why looking at what you say to yourself in difficult customer situations is so important. Change your self-talk and you can be more calm and effective.
On the other hand, you can use self talk that is more helpful in terms of maintaining self-control. Positive self talk can help you keep the situation in perspective. For example, you can remind yourself that the person is angry at the situation, not you, or you can remind yourself that the person has a right to be angry. Below are some examples of self talk that are MORE likely to help you maintain self-control.
• This person really needs some help
• They aren’t really angry at me personally
• I can handle this
• Boy, do they have it rough
• They must look funny naked
The examples in both lists above are just examples. Since each of us is different, you may find that some of the self talk in the first list actually HELPS you maintain control. Or you may find things in the second list that won’t work for you. You need to find the self talk statements that work for you,and avoid self talk that doesn’t work for you. In the next few sections we are going to look at some examples of self talk that my seminar participants have suggested is effective for them.