You know those things you dread hearing every day? Here’s how to remove them

3rd November 2015

There are certain things we all dread hearing at work:

  • You aren’t experienced enough for this
  • Sorry, I can’t help you. I don’t have time.
  • This isn’t a priority
  • Reduce your price
  • I think we just won’t bother. It’s easier to do nothing
  • We already have someone we’d prefer to work with
  • The answer’s ‘no’. Now, what did you want?

When you see things like this, it’s no wonder people dread hearing them.

But, did you know, it’s not these sentences that you actually dread?

The thing you dread is your inability to respond to them. It’s that awful rabbit-in-headlights, paralysing moment where you think “I hate it when they say that. I have no idea what to say in response”

But, imagine you did know a great way to respond.

Well, you’d no longer dread them asking. In fact, it would be like any other question you knew the answer to. You’d just answer it.

Therefore, to remove the dread, it’s simply a question of scripting, editing and practising saying what you’ll say in response.

It’s easier than you think to do this. All you need are three things:

  • a pen
  • a piece of paper and
  • your favourite drink

Start by pouring your favourite drink. Have some.

Then, draw a two-column table on your piece of paper. On the left, list all the sentences you dread hearing – one in each row.

Then, after another swig of drink, complete the right column – what you’ll say in response when you hear each Dread Sentence.

Make it as easy as possible to write the best possible response. For example, you could:

  • (this is the one I do) Talk to yourself. Say loads of answers out loud a few times, until one sounds promising. Then, keep saying it out loud, self-editing as you go. When it sounds right, then write it down; or
  • Write first, say it out loud, and then edit till it’s right; or
  • if one of your contacts is good at stuff like this, ask them for help; or
  • Search on Google or YouTube for ideas…

…whatever you need do, to create compelling responses.

And then, after another drink, practise saying them. Again and again. Until they feel natural to you. You’ll see the dread disappear very quickly.

One final tip – but this is if you want to go up to Ninja Level…

Create a third column titled ‘pre-emptive strike’. In it, write what you could say in advance of them saying the thing you dread. In other words, you’re the one who raises it, not them. It sounds scary to do this. But it’s often less so. After all, you’re now not waiting for them to say it, wondering when it will happen. You 100% control when it does.

If I were you’ often works well here. For example, “if I were you, I might be concerned about the fact I haven’t worked in this industry before. Is that right?”

If they say it is a concern, answer with your response from Column #2. If they say they aren’t concerned about it, no problem – you didn’t need to dread it.

When could you use this Dread Table? Well, it works in many walks of life – anywhere there’s something you dread hearing. I’ve seen it used most often with salespeople (to handle objections), job interviews (to remove reasons they won’t hire you), and requests for internal resource (to stop them saying no).

What are you dreading hearing today?

Action point

My ‘dread’ with this Tip is that you like it, but won’t use it when it matters. So, let’s try a pre-emptive strike…

If I were you, I might be thinking ‘this makes perfect sense. But I’m too busy to find time to do it’.

And that’s perfectly understandable. Unfortunately, you do need to prepare your response to these things you dread. You can either:

  • Prepare your response in advance, as I’m suggesting here. Take your time. Ask people for help. Practise till you feel good about it, and so on; or
  • Prepare your response in zero time, because someone’s just said the thing you’re dreading and you have to think of a brilliant answer right now. Let’s face it: pretty stressful, and unlikely to work

I guess I’m saying: you have to prepare your response some time. So you might as well do it in the easiest, safest way.

People often tell me this Dread Table is a quick, powerful solution to a problem they’ve had for a long time. And if you want some more quick, powerful solutions to things that have been troubling you, check out more simple techniques on these videos.

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