At some point in our lives – maybe right now – we have all been in a compelling situation. Whether it is at work, home, or in our personal relationships, pressure is a feeling that is all too familiar. When we are under pressure, our natural reaction is to tense up and either fight or take flight. However, as leaders, it is important for us to be able to navigate these situations effectively.
Here are five communication strategies for leaders under pressure.
1. Use “I” Statements
Under pressurizing situations, we tend to point finger and place blame on others. For example, “You’re not listening to me!” or “This is all your fault!” Not only are these statements unproductive, but they also make the other person feel defensive and less likely to want to listen to what you have to say. Instead of using “you” statements, try using “I” statements. For example, “I feel like I’m not being heard,” or “I’m feeling frustrated because I think we’re not on the same page.” These types of statements express how you are feeling without placing blame on the other person. As a result, the other person is more likely to be open to hearing what you have to say.
2. Be Direct
People under pressure, sometimes try to sugarcoat things or avoid conflict by finessing their words. However, this can often lead to miscommunication and frustration on both sides. It is essential important to be direct when communicating under pressure so that there is no room for misinterpretation. So, be clear about what you want or expect from the other person. For example, “I need you to be here on time so that we can start the meeting as scheduled ,” or “I need you to take a look at this report and give me your feedback by the end of the day.” By being direct, you can avoid any confusion and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
3. Listen More Than You Talk
We often think that the best way to communicate under pressure is to talk faster and louder in order to get our point across. However, this does not usually work in practice as it often comes across as aggressive and can make the other person feel like they are being talked over or ignored. A better approach is to listen more than you talk. This doesn’t mean that you should let the other person do all the talking; instead, try to engage in active listening. This means listening with the intent to understand rather than just waiting for your turn to speak. When you focus on understanding what the other person is saying, it shows that you value their input and makes them more likely to listen to what you have to say in return.
4. Find Common Ground
When we are communicating under pressure, it is easy for us to get caught up in our own perspective and forget that there may be another way of looking at things. In order to find common ground, it is important to step outside of yourself and try to see things from the other person’s point of view. Once you are able to see things from their perspective, it becomes a lot easier to find common ground and come up with a solution that works for both parties.
5. Take a Break If Necessary
Sometimes, the best thing you can do when communicating under pressure is take a break. This doesn’t mean walking away from the situation entirely; instead, try taking a few minutes to calm down and collect your thoughts. Once you have had a chance to breathe and clear your head, you will be able to approach the situation with a fresh perspective and be more likely to find an effective solution.
Communicating effectively under pressure can be difficult, but it is an important skill for leaders to master. By using “I” statements, being direct, listening more than you talk, finding common ground, and taking a break, if necessary, you can navigate even the most challenging conversations with ease. What communication strategies do you use when you are feeling the pressure?