HTM 025 – Three strategies with Know It Alls – How To Matter
Consider the advice before discounting the advisor, read the message before turning away the messenger.
The expertise and insight of the know-it-alls of the world are boundless; and the K-I-A’s are ready to provide advice and input anywhere, anytime, for anyone. A K-I-A was there to point out to Noah there may be a flood, to T. Edison playing with electricity might be shocking, and to Neil Armstrong pulling off his helmet and yelling, “Where’s the party?” could take his breath away. There may have even been a K-I-A around to tell Moses to be sure to get it in writing.
The K-I-A openings have an annoyingly familiar theme: “Have you thought about?” “Did you notice?” “You may want to,” and the old stand by, “If I were you.” Well, thank you very much; and while you are getting the inflection on your sarcasm just right, don’t forget Churchill’s admonition “Even a fool’s right sometimes.”
Don’t let people mess with your monkey.
Making nice and being the Good Samaritan aren’t the only skills you need in your interpersonal repertoire. Sure, those skills are essential for success; but you also have to hang tough at times. For example, is there someone driving you up the wall with their suggestions, advice, and superior attitude? They have solutions to problems you don’t have, answers to questions you didn’t ask, and suggestions for how to handle things you are handling just fine. Their favorite sport is nosing into your business.
Instead of seething inside or giving into the urge to tell them what they can do with their suggestions and opinions, next time, smile and say, “Isn’t that my monkey?” Whatever their response, say, “Thank you; but my monkey gets upset if anyone but me tries to handle him.”
Whether you have a chance to explain your reasons or can only walk away, don’t let arguments get out of hand.
Do you sometimes find yourself in the middle of intense arguments quickly getting nowhere? If so, the instant you realize what’s happening, stop talking, wait five seconds, and then calmly ask, “What do you want the outcome of this conversation to be? What is your goal?”
Ask a few more questions to be sure you understand and to help you determine whether you can support the goal. If so, explain how. If not, say, “Your goal isn’t one I can support. If you want, I will try to help you understand why I can’t.” If the person wants to listen, state your reason as clearly and as briefly as you can. If not, let it go.
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