How To Handle Aggressive Questions
Difficult conversations and negotiations can be stressful, especially when the other person is grilling you with aggressive questions. This kind of behavior can make you feel like you’re being cross-examined, and it’s not uncommon to feel controlled or rattled under the pressure.
It’s essential to recognize that when people question you aggressively, they’re not just trying to get the information they want, but they may also be trying to establish dominance and control over the situation. This can leave you feeling subordinated and vulnerable, which can result in you giving up and giving in.
To avoid this, it’s crucial to recognize problematic power dynamics and rebalance them to take back control of the situation. Remember that you have more power than you think. The person grilling you is doing so because they need something valuable that only you can provide. That gives you leverage. By withholding that information until their behavior changes, you can take control of the situation.
Negotiation is all about give-and-take. Essentially, what we’re saying to them is this: if you give me better behavior and more respect, then I will give you the information you want.
You can do this by saying something like, “I can tell this information is important to you and I’m willing to share. But before I do, let’s slow things down a little bit. These questions are coming very quickly and I’d like to have the time to respond thoughtfully. With that, can you please repeat your first question?”
When done in this fashion, when they ask the question again, they will do so with a less aggressive tone. And what you’ve done as you slowly started to shift the power dynamics in your favor. You rejected the fast paced aggressive style of questioning and replaced it with a more manageable, respectful approach. This is very meaningful because now instead of you following their lead, they are following your lead.
This simple yet powerful strategy puts the power back in your hands and helps you rebalance the power dynamics in the interaction. It shows that you’re not willing to be subordinated or coerced into doing something that’s not in your best interest.
Remember that you have the power to control the situation, and you don’t have to let anyone make you feel inferior. Take control and negotiate like a pro. With this approach, you’ll leave the conversation feeling empowered and confident, knowing that you stood up for yourself and negotiated on your terms.
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