Retail’s an intense people-to-people businesss (yes, even with all the technology).  In managing and serving our interactions can often escalate into more emotional conversations.  Have you ever found yourself in that position with an associate or customer?  You probably needed a break.

By ‘break’ I don’t mean walk away.  We’ve found that inside our heads we have dueling forces of ‘logic’ and ’emotion’.  When they’re in balance conversations can be very productive.  When emotion begins to rise it pushes out our ability to think clearly, be rationale, or use logic.  We teach a skill called Listen to Learn which has a technique for staying connected during these conversations.

When emotions are strong, think about using empathy to reflect how the other person feels. When people feel heard they’re less likely to feel the need to shout or defend their position and that means emotions begin to cool.  Using empathy creates a break in the spiraling emotions and lets logic flow in.  Saner heads prevail.

Now, while this technique is powerful it doesn’t come easily or naturally to most of us especially in the heat of the moment.  If you can remember that strong emotions may require a break, you may just start reflecting instead of reacting.


About Michael Patrick

Michael held positions in retail management, merchandising, and human resources before joining MOHR Retail’s predecessor in 1986. In 1990 he purchased the retail division of that firm to form today’s MOHR Retail. Michael holds true to his retail roots by delivering learning that changes behavior—providing both immediate and lasting business impact. In addition to facilitating MOHR Retail training programs, he offers executive-level coaching in one-on-one sessions dealing with critical strategic issues such as succession strategies and executive team development. The author of “The New Negotiation Mindset: Guarantee A Bigger Slice,” Michael is a longstanding member of NRF as well as ISA: The Association of Learning Providers. He has a B.A. from San Diego State University, completed Master’s level work at Arizona State University, and lives with his family in New Jersey.