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Take control of your hot buttons June 29, 2008

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, Handling hot buttons, Uncategorized.
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p5130012.jpg  Want to maintain control in a heated discussion? The Big Dogz know how to do that.  Most of us encounter those times in meetings, phone calls or one on one discussion where we go off on tangents defending ourselves or an issue that is vital to us. Frequently these diversions cause us to lose effectiveness or to even look unprofessional. Why does this happen? Well, probably someone has pushed one of our buttons. This phrase is commonly used to describe a situation where we are thrown off track and lose our ability to influence. People are thinking “There he goes again, on that soapbox.”

Here is a technique the Big Dogz use to keep themselves from getting on that soapbox, and to keep themselves focused on the topic at hand.

  1. Be aware of your “button pushed” behavior. For some people there are definite physical indicators. We can feel our heart beating harder and faster. Our ears get red. We begin emphatic gesturing to emphasis points that do not need emphasis.  Get a friend to help you create this awareness. This step is the single most important step in taking control of your buttons. You cannot do anything about your buttons unless you know your behaviors when they are pushed.
  2.  When you engage in “button pushed” behavior, that is, either you or a colleague have discovered you are engaged in this behavior, stop, take a breath and think about what just happened. What did this person say or do that made me go into “button pushed” behavior? You can be sure the other person knows what your buttons are. They just pushed one because you were winning the discussion and they were unwilling to change. If they can divert your thinking, they can at least walk away with a “no decision.” You have just moved from the offensive to the defensive!
  3.  As soon as possible, focus back on the original discussion. You can say something like “That is an interesting point, let’s consider it later.” It is an effective technique to take a deep breath or if possible a short break. Of course, you will want to let the other person know that you know they tried to push one of your buttons! “As you know, that issue is very important to me, but in the context of this discussion does not move us forward in getting to a solution. I would be interested in exploring that issue after we have settled this discussion.”
  4. You now have complete awareness of this issue that causes you to engage in “button pushed” behavior. This awareness means you can take control! Try to spend some time analyzing why this issue is so important to you and can you really do anything about it. If the issue is some past wrong committed, let it go so you can move on. If the issue is a moral or ethical one, think deeply about how you can make the issue right. What is your plan to address the issue? If you do not let it go or work on fixing it, the issue will continue to haunt you as a button.
  5. If you are not able to eliminate this button, at least you can be aware that it is a button and those around you will also be aware of it. Even the most well meaning of us will push a person’s button from time to time. Expect that people will use this knowledge, not because they are evil and dedicated to your demise, but because they are human. When this button is pushed, take control — remain calm, acknowledge the importance of the issue to you, separate the issue from the current discussion and move back into being effective. If you really need to vent or talk about this button, schedule another meeting or discussion around the issue.

 

The Big Dogz take control of their issues. You can not expect to uncover every button you have; but you can identify the really big ones and develop a strategy for handling situations where your buttons are pushed,

 

In the next thirty days, start observing your own behavior to identify your specific “button pushed” behavior. Then put in place the rest of this process to be on your way to being more effective.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments»

1. Dr. Jeanette Raymond+ - July 11, 2008

The suggestions for taking control are logical and sensible. The only trouble is that hot buttons get pushed because they come from a deep emotional place that we aren’t aware of, in touch with or can control at that moment.
Using the head to control the instincts and knee jerk reactions isn’t effective unless you own the reason that you are vulnerable in that place. You have to unpeel the layers that create that button to find out the source of the heat. Why does it take you back to a time when you couldn’t use your logic? Then you can use the power of the emotion and reason to create a strategy of poise, control and effective communication.

http://www.howtodealwhenyour buttonsgetpushed.blogspot.com./

You can learn more about using anger as a motivating fuel at
http://www.drjeanetteraymond.com/

2. Rick Bronder - July 15, 2008

Dr. Raymond,
Thanks for the insight. I am convinced you are correct. If using the techniques I suggest does not help a person identify their buttons, then surely a more professional level help is needed. Identifying a hot button and making a concious decision to delay your reation is helpful for most biusiness situations.
You insight is helpful, and is especially pertinent when there is continued lack of control around hot buttons in business situations.
Thanks for your reply
Rick


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