OBJECTIONS. We may not like them, but we cannot avoid them either. They surround us. As a part of everyday life, both in our private and professional environments, they are integral and ubiquitous as the air that we breathe. They can be helping and constructive, but they can also be destructive and totally de-motivating. Still we need to deal with them.
So when the question is raised “Have you experienced any objections today?” how do you feel? Does it make you uncomfortable, because you think or even know you did not meet the objections in the right or appropriate way? Or do you just nod and carry on, being confident that you handled them perfectly?
This is most probably down to your character and the kind of objection that you were confronted with.
When it comes to dealing with criticism or objections, one of the biggest problems is when emotions get in the way. The more emotional a person is, especially when this emotionality is paired with a lack of self-esteem, the more likely it is that any opposition will be perceived as a personal attack rather than a professional matter. Defences go up and thinking becomes limited, blocked, sometimes even hostile, because feelings of being (unfairly) attacked arise. As a consequence, what was a purely business related issue can actually turn personal … and, of course, the situation gets even worse and more difficult to resolve. Sounds familiar? If you are an emotional person, you might have encountered something like this more than enough.
On the other hand, a rather unemotional character is able to deal with objections or criticism in a much more analytical way. But a purely analytical approach can in fact also be counter-productive. Keep in mind: the individual making the objection is acting out of a wide range of possible motives and emotions him- or herself: be it better knowledge or malice, disappointment or anger, determination or insecurity. In this state, most persons will feel discounted and left alone when they are faced with impersonal approach to their issue. After all, you might not see it, but for them their motivation and reasoning is very clear and strong. This is why they want to be taken seriously and treated, put simply, as humans.
And this is the very key: Remember you are dealing with a human being … who actually might be handing you a chance.
Sure, at first any objection might cause you anger or more work, but … well, it is out of the box now and neither it nor the person making it will simply go away. Ignoring or mistreating them will only make the backlash even stronger. Try to turn the situation around: if you were the person with the criticism or objection, how would you want to be treated?
So take every person and his or her objection equally seriously. Remember, doubts don't come out of nowhere. Listen. Empathize. Show interest – and have interest, after all, this might turn into an opportunity to better yourself, your work, your product. So ask questions … but don’t let emotions run high and block your view. Rather find out what motivated the objection. Then react. And – don’t forget to show gratitude, as hard as this may seem.
Of course, all of this is only scratching the surface on a very wide topic. But when we remember that there are humans on both side of the interaction, we can make things easier. We can act and re-act differently and by this make any operation more successful and efficient.
Then the question “Have you experienced any objections today?”, might actually turn into: “Have you used all the chances and opportunities that have arisen today?”
And that sounds much nicer, doesn’t it?