branding Archives - Puris Consulting
Top 3 Branding Tips For Introverts

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Posted on: October 31, 2016

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So many of us are self-proclaimed “introverts”. I have no judgments on introverts or extroverts. I think both works well in society. Yet, I put “introverts” in quotes because I often feel that once we are labeled as such, or self-label, then things become final and we don’t want, or worse yet, believe we can change if we want to change some aspect of our being that we attribute to being an introvert.

I watch so many of my clients go through this cycle. It pains them to feel trapped in a box and it pains me to watch them struggle with it so much. My goal is for clients to either be fine with who they are as introverts, or choose to see things differently for themselves (change some things?) and be fine with who they are.

Here’s some tips that I find works with my clients:

  1. Thin out the wall between your personal and business life- Many introverts are very private. I respect that. However, private often is perceived as “quiet”, which can mean that we see you as shy but we really infer you are emotionally disconnected. Either way, it means you are not relating to your audience and emotionally connecting with us.

Being quiet is fine at the right time. It’s ok to be a private person. Yet, when we know very little about you, perhaps you are “quiet” for us in a negative way.

Perhaps consider dropping the wall (or maybe just slim down the wall) between your personal and business life. Let us in a bit- tell us more about your life- family, growing up, etc. You are still in control, but sharing more of you.

  1. Smile more- otherwise we may think you are snooty, when the truth is that you are not. When in doubt about how to be, just smile.
  2. Know your limits and be courageous- if you are uncomfortable at an event, know when the time comes for you to leave (because the lights and noise and small talk are just too much to take). Yet, have harmony with also being courageous enough to hit up against your comfort zone and try new things- small steps are fine.

If you found this helpful, please share it with others.  I’d love to hear your feedback. Just email me.

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Brand Booster: “Allow” Instead of “Force”, “Achieve” or “Earn”

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Posted on: August 22, 2016

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Just the other day I was forcing an issue with my husband. We were at a restaurant ordering lunch. Being a typical woman, I wanted him to “share” a burger and a salad with me instead of us both ordering a burger. It’s my attempt to be healthier and still eat what I love (a burger!). I kept suggesting it to my husband…. Over and over again. I wanted him to do what I wanted him to do. Free will was lost. So, he pushed back and we both got burgers.

Sound familiar? It should. Stuff like this happens so often.

What if I had just stopped and chosen to see the situation differently? Instead of “suggesting/forcing” my views on my husband, what if I had “allowed” the situation to be and allowed whatever was going to happen, to happen?

I guarantee you the end result would have been different.

Maybe we still would have ended up ordering burgers, but I wouldn’t have let myself down and expended so much negative energy pushing and shoving my will on my husband. I could have been happier in that moment.

Successful brands don’t force anything – on themselves or on others.

Anytime we force anything, we have active resistance around anything in our lives,. Then there is tension. Tension even shows up when we are “achieving” or “earning”.  

Tension amps up our stress. Our stress amps up other peoples’ stress. Then people don’t want to be around us anymore, much less hire us, buy from us, promote us, date us. You name it. The game is over.

Instead, successful brands recognize that allowing life to happen sets everyone up for more success. Allowing life to happen, allows us to “be” with ease and grace. Ease and grace is the only way to let your brand shine and get us to stop, notice you and gravitate naturally to you.

What does this mean for you? Stop and consider:

  • How often do you force your way and will in life? Next time, stop and have self-awareness: is it really working for you? Be honest with yourself.
  • What if you stopped trying to “achieve” or “earn” and just “allowed”, instead?
  • What would your life be like if you just “allowed” yourself and others to be? Where can you make subtle adjustments to allow more and force less?

Call or email me to discuss this strategy in your brand and life.


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Written by admin

Posted on: June 6, 2016

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Within organizations the one thing you can count on is change. Change is inevitable.

It comes often and is often painful. In the branding world, change is an indicator of brand flexibility: brands that go with change, evolve and survive to thrive. Brands that don’t bend with the wind, die out.

What kind of changes are we talking about? Such changes include a) reorganizational changes of any kind, like changes in management, buy-outs, downsizing due to economic factors or due to innovation b) technological changes leading to obsolescence c) pure economy dictated changes.

What do all these changes involve? Employees. Your best advantage and greatest asset- your talent pool.

Here’s the problem: The 2013 Gallup State of the Global Workplace report found that only 13% of employees are engaged at work. Engagement equals productivity.  

So what are the hurdles to employee engagement and productivity due to change? Here’s what I’ve found happens when there is any internal change- and there will always be internal change:

  1. There is a fundamental shift in brand values due to change in management- often this is accompanied by mass confusion, often subconscious, among the employee pool. Why? Read on.
  2. There is no focus on the notion of building the “internal” brand first- since the brand of the employees/agents is behind the company brand and comes first, it pays to develop the employee brand first- this involves direct communication to the employees and inclusion of the employees in the brand value process. Leadership must engage employees in the exercise of discovering their values that coincide with the shift in brand values of the new management.
  3. There is a strong possibility that employees/agents go rogue and drift away from the corporate brand representation.

So what is management supposed to do about this? The first step is that “management” needs to stop thinking like “management” and start thinking like “leadership”. This means first and foremost having conscious awareness that a shift has occurred. This shift may not be well understood or accepted by your employees.

Next, leadership needs to take steps to make sure the brand values shift is a) communicated well and b) open to revision by employees c) based on the ability to have the employees develop their own brand values and contribute to the new direction of the company’s brand. This is where I come in to assist the leadership team.

What happens if management does not become leadership and apply these steps? From my experience, the best that can happen is employees leave the company. The worst that can happen is that employees stay, become disgruntled which in turn leads to apathy, lack of productivity, and low morale. All of this inevitably leads to a decline in profits.

So what does this mean for you?

If your organization is going through change, make sure you consider your employee brand values. They must be in sync with your organizational shifts and the brand value changes they bring. These changes must be communicated to your employees and your employees given the ability to participate in creating the evolved organizational brand culture.


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Top 3 Marketing Mistakes Mid-Level Attorney/Partners Make

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Posted on: March 28, 2016

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When I graduated from law school in 1997, jobs were plenty.  I was so very fortunate, as were all my classmates.  Just about the only reason we had for not getting a job was if we failed the bar exam.

Looking back, I realize how blessed we were.  I really didn’t have much anxiety around finding a job. If anything, my anxiety was more about whether I would find a job that I really wanted.

Fast forward 19 years.  I have so much respect for recent law school graduates. They no longer have the luxury that we did when we graduated. Nothing is guaranteed once they graduate.

This may sound like a bad thing, however I see it differently.  I think graduates these days are much more resourceful and scrappy. They are forced to figure out their brands and then market themselves in a way we never had to do.

This brings me to the dilemma I see so many law firms facing today.  The majority of those who graduated law school a few years before me as well as those who graduated with me are mid-level partners in their firms.  They are not the oldest in the partnership ranks yet.

As a result of when we graduated and our fantastic economic circumstances, many of these partners always had work- it was either always generated by more senior partners and given to them or it was easy for them to get work otherwise.

The problem I see is often, as a result, these partners are not able (or willing?) to generate their own business because they have always had business given to them.  So their brand is practically non-existent and their marketing efforts, rusty at best.  This may sound like a generalization and it is.  This is based on my many years of experience working with law firms on branding.  There are obviously exceptions everywhere.

Here are their top 3 Marketing Mistakes:

  1. They assume the business and work will always flow because it has always worked out for them in the past. Don’t get me wrong. I love optimism, however it has its limits. Because of this mentality these partners aren’t as open as they can be to seeing their branding and marketing needs differently.  This hurts the entire firm.
  2. They don’t participate in marketing and branding work like others in the firm do.  I see this regularly each time I go into a law firm to train the attorneys on branding and marketing.  The room is filled with: a) 65 year old and above attorneys/partners and b) 27-35 year old attorneys/associates.  They are all eager to learn because they know it matters.  No where to be found are the mid-level partners ranging in age between 40 to 55 years old or so. This hurts the entire firm.
  3. They don’t choose to see marketing and business development activities creatively. I find when this level of partner does market their practice, it is in very traditional ways such as advertisements, taking a new firm website picture or speaking at a conference. Rarely do they stop and really focus on working on their own internal projection to possible clientele (i.e., their brand) nor how to collaborate with other attorneys. This hurts the entire firm.

The end result of all this is the following: one day within the next ten years, these very same lawyers are going to be the most senior attorneys at their firms as the older partners retire.  As such, the older partner are no longer going to be around to feed them work.  The younger lawyers will have already figured it out and have moved on without these partners.  This hurts the entire firm because of the inequity of the situation.

What does this mean for you? If you are a mid-level lawyer and this description fits you, please consider:

  • Choosing to see your marketing and branding efforts in a new light:  What can you be doing differently to develop business?
  • Working on yourself and your own brand instead of focusing on others.
  • Hiring a consultant and/or coach to help you get up to speed.  Most often in these situations, the timeline is accelerated and it will creep up on you before you know it.
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Do You Hygge’ and Does It Make You A Happier Brand?

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Posted on: October 27, 2015

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About two weeks ago San Diego went through a nasty heat wave. The high temperatures were relentlessly in the 90s for that entire period of time. Normally, I would manage to get through it, but it was October.  I yearned for Fall. I was sad and angry.  Once again, I was rethinking living in San Diego, much to the chagrin of my family.

In that two-week stretch, all I wanted to do was to wear a sweater, pull a fleece blanket around me and snuggle under it with a cup of HOT tea.  Without getting heat stroke and making my husband fear my sanity, I couldn’t bring myself to wear the sweater and cuddle under the blanket.  But, I did have a cup of hot tea (well, more like tepid, but I pretended it was really hot) every evening.   My husband was very kind and just looked at me funny from the corner of his eyes. Mostly because he knew how happy it made me to drink my hot tea and pretend like it was Fall outside.

So am I crazy?  Why do I yearn for the coziness, hot tea and sweaters?  Am I just an East Coast gal transplanted on the West Coast?  I dare say not.

In developing peoples’ brands, I always preach the happiness factor: if you are not happy, you cannot sell happiness. Happy branded people are the only brands others notice and buy/hire.

So what does this happiness have to do with getting cozy?  Well, for years I’ve had a theory that people who live in four weather climates are happier brands. Why? I now have the answer.

It’s called Hygge’.  This is a Danish term for the notion of getting snuggly in the winter, spending time with family, relaxing, enjoying life- even if it is cold, dark and wet outside- much like it is in Denmark for about 5 months out of each year. As Suzanne Nilsson, a hygge’ teacher, explains the term hygge’ is “the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things.”  These things include candles, tea, family/social gatherings.

These things are also all the things we would all tend to do more of in climates that have that fourth season of winter.   My friend Pam is from New Hampshire.  She has said on too many occasions that there was such a sense of community in New Hampshire, particularly during winter.  Pam notes that in winter, neighbors just knock on each others’ doors, go in for dinner or for a cup of (get ready for it…) tea!

So could there be truth to my belief?

There are definitely many studies linking gratitude with happiness.  Gratitude does not rely on material things.  If you’re not yearning for more “things” to buy, then your gratitude cycle is more likely to continue meaning you are more likely to stay happy longer, making you a more attractive brand.

As if I needed more proof, I got it on Friday when I was having lunch with Ian McDougall, the General Counsel of LexisNexis.  Ian noted that he had worked in New Zealand for a while and had noticed that despite the fact that people in New Zealand had higher cost of living with lower compensation, they seemed happier.  Why? Ian noted that New Zealand (much like Denmark, perhaps?) was full of breathtaking outdoor life.  It appeared to Ian that most residents found happiness, not in spending their money buying more things, but in spending time outdoors.  So happiness is a function of “being”, rather than “having”.  Folks in New Zealand sound much more likely than not of being happy brands (yes, I’ve met many of them and they were all much happier than the general US population, if I may generalize).  That sounds like hygge’ to me.

What does this mean for you?  Consider, if you want to be an effective brand that attracts others to you emotionally:

  • Take time to just “be” and do nothing. When was the last time you sat around with a cup of hot tea and spent time with friends?
  • Perhaps not buying so much in terms of material things, but consciously look to create opportunities for yourself to be with others in situations that require more of you “being” rather than “doing”.
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Top 3 Tips To Move People To Buy Your Brand

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Posted on: October 5, 2015

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As the statistic goes, 78% of everything we buy is based on how we “feel” about it (product or service) and NOT the content.  When I think back to any of my current purchases (for products or services), I’ve bought over 90% of them because  I “liked” them.

Now you may think, who buys toothpaste outside necessity of content?  Everyone. Otherwise, there would only be one brand of toothpaste instead of so many of them all competing for your dollars.

Same thing for professional service providers.  There are so many professionals doing the same thing out there.  The name of the game isn’t how great you are at your job (you’ll have to prove that to me after I hire you), but whether you “move me” to want to hire you.  That’s actually good news and it’s all based on your individual brand- as a human being.

I remember the days when I practiced law. Towards the end of my 14-year career when I no longer wanted to practice, I was an entirely different brand.  I don’t think I could have moved anyone to want to hire me, plain and simple.  How could I- -I didn’t want to be a lawyer!

So here are three ways to move me to buy your brand as a professional service provider:

1. Be likeable– You can’t count on your intellect and ability to do the work to get you clients and a magnificent brand.  Would I want to be your friend? Would you want to be your own friend?  Stop and think, how like-able are you?

2. Create emotional resonance with me– I remember when I practiced in Washington DC, the common small talk question was, “what do you do?”  I was a victim of asking that question, too.   It was just awful and left the conversation very dry and cold.  Now it seems people have stopped asking that question.  However, we still talk too much about our work.  Stop telling me how great you are at what you do for a living.   Start telling me about yourself as a human and then I’ll emotionally connect.  From there, I’ll buy anything from you.

3. Find your happiness– It’s becoming more common to have dialogue on being happy these days.  But do you really own it?  I know it is hard.  I consciously practice being happy each day. Some days it is really hard for me to find that happiness for myself. So I get mad at myself, then sad and then come back around to give it another go. If you can’t be happy, then you can’t emotionally move me with your brand.  Why? Because happiness is the only emotion that sells. It’s contagious and leaves your brand unrivaled. 


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Do You Do Too Much? Making Your Brand of Nothing Mean Everything.

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Posted on: September 21, 2015

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I recently took to reading the Tao Te Ching. It is known worldwide as The Book of the Way, which is really a guide to the art of living. It was written by Lao-tzu, said to be a contemporary of Confucius (551-479 B.C.E.).

In the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tzu insists on the concept of “doing not-doing”. What this means is doing less that is forced and allowing life to just flow. How often have you experienced the situation where you kind of “gave up” trying so hard and did less?  Did you end up seeing/getting better results? I am guessing so.

In this concept of “doing not-doing”, Lao-tzu does not mean being passive. Unfortunately, that’s what we all seem to think it means to sit still and let life happen.

I remember in my practice as a lawyer, I was always “busy” doing things. If it wasn’t the active practice of law, it was something else: teaching yoga, running, reading, other appointments. My list was endless. I used to think I had to be a certain way as a lawyer. This left me very rigid and blocked so much of my creativity as a lawyer. One thing was for sure: I wasn’t going with the flow of anything in life. I was unhappy a lot.

As I shifted professions, I realized that the end was not my goal. I had no real “end” I was shooting for anymore. After all, I no longer cared to make partner in a law firm or to be General Counsel somewhere. Been there, done that.

This reality freed me up to just “be”. That’s right. Just sit still and do less. Now, I’d be lying if I claimed to be in perfect mastery of just “being” and not running around thinking I have to do so much. I’m working on it. I’m a work in progress. I’m proud of myself for even having self-awareness around the concept.

Here’s what I have learned: strong brands do less and “be” more. 

No where was this clearer to me than watching the finals of American Ninja Warrior the other night. The final challenge, on the road to being the winner of $1,000,000 and the title of American Ninja Warrior, was to climb a 30 foot rope in under 30 seconds. When they interviewed the winner and asked him how he mentally was able to achieve this amazing act, he said, “I became one with the rope”.

Now you may think this is cheezy or crazy. Fair enough. But consider, what he was really saying was the same thing Lao-tzu said: he was being and not doing so much. He was finding his rhythm and groove with the rope instead of fighting against the rope to climb it and conquer it. He wasn’t resisting life, but flowing with it. Resistance leaves us tired and unhappy. That’s a bad brand.

 Effective brands that resonate emotionally with their audience have certain magic to them.   To do less, is to be more adaptable, flexible and go with the flow.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying to sit around and be passive and lazy. Strong brands also have conviction, drive and a purpose to be of true service to others.

What does this mean for you? Stop and think:

  • How much do you take on in any given day?
  • How does it make you feel when you don’t cross off everything on your list? Do you consider yourself a failure?
  • How do you come across to others when you take on so much and are constantly “doing”? Do others see a flexible, happy brand or a rigid, tired, stressed and unhappy brand?
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Self-Confidence & Leadership

Written by admin

Posted on: December 5, 2011

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I ended the last blog post with the notion of self-confidence. Specifically that people are attracted to someone with high self-confidence.   At Puris we use self-confidence, coupled with stress, as a big gauge to see how your personal branding is working.   The main result of our work with clients is that their self-confidence goes UP when we help them create an effective personal brand.

When you have high self-confidence, it means everything is working well for you, including your personal brand.  High self-confidence correlates to high productivity, high morale, reduced stress and effective behavior as an employee and a business owner.

It also is true that self-confidence is tied to effective leadership.  Leslie Pratch*, a clinical psychologist, headed such research at the University of Chicago.  Here she investigated the longer-term personality predictors of leadership.  The research found that there were definite gender differences involved with respect to being self-confident and being an effective leader.  Most notably for you and me, Pratch found overwhelmingly significant that women must have high self-confidence and self-esteem in order to be perceived as an effective leader.  Men on the other hand are more expected to be self-confident, so we don’t judge their leadership on self-confidence.

What does this mean for you?  If you are looking to grow your business or get promoted or just be taken seriously and noticed more- then you have got to be perceived in a leadership capacity of some form.  This means you must have high self-confidence and self-esteem.  A strong personal brand is based on high self-confidence.  The more you “get” your personal brand and develop it, the more your self-confidence grows.

No one wants to work with, promote, listen or follow someone who doesn’t appear, and is not, sure of themselves.  This is especially true if you are female.  So go out there and develop an effective personal brand to boost your self-confidence!

*You can read more on Pratch's study on her website, Pratch & Company.
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Effective Personal Branding and Customer Service- Southwest Airlines Case Study

Written by admin

Posted on: July 10, 2011

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I was recently with a client of mine who travels  a lot for work.  We were talking about her favorite airline and she mentioned how she loves Southwest.  As she started talking about Southwest, her entire demeanor changed- you could totally see her excitement and passion for the airline.  She was smiling and saying how much fun it was to fly again now that she had “found” Southwest. She had stumbled upon them when her preferred, major airline had left her stranded and given her no options or assistance. She had literally walked over to the Southwest counter, where they had booked her in about 5 minutes to her destination AND made her laugh.  After that, she was hooked. She gave up her zillion mile status and her first class seats- all to travel on Southwest and enjoy her constant trips.

To me, this is the perfect example of how the Southwest personal and business brands are a success.  It is all because of customer service. Southwest recently celebrated 40 years of business.  If you look at their mission statement (which my client knows by heart!)- it is a dual statement.  One part of the statement is devoted to clients and one to employees.  The client mission statement is:  “dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.”

Southwest has literally taken this mission statement and translated it into developing a personal brand for each employee that caters to customer service built on fun and quality.  This personal brand of “fun and quality service” is what my client, as well as many other travelers, remember most about Southwest.  The personal brand is very unique and sets apart the airline from competitors.  Who wouldn’t want good service and fun these days?

As we always say here at Puris, every successful business needs a personal brand that has a unique community service platform.   In terms of personal branding, Southwest has the community service component covered well, also.  According to their website, in 2009, Southwest Airlines employees volunteered more than 45,000 hours to charities across the country. To support these passionate employee volunteers, Southwest Airlines launched the Tickets for Time program. For every 40 hours their employees volunteer for a nonprofit organization, the benefitting nonprofit organization is eligible to receive one complimentary, roundtrip ticket on Southwest Airlines for fundraising or transportation needs.

According to my client, Southwest is “well-designed, yet casual and always has fabulous service”.  On their blog Southwest says that they are in the customer service business and just happen to fly planes.  This says it all, doesn’t it?

What does this mean for your personal brand and your business brand?  Nothing resonates louder for your personal brand and that of your employees than quality customer service done only to serve and create fun and joy in the lives of your customers.  Do you and your staff enjoy servicing your clients?  Is it fun or is it difficult?  Do you all put on your game face and “pretend” to be happy or do you mean it?  We can all see through any insincerity.  It never works.  Hire staff who really like what they do for you and your clients.  I hope you are running a business that you really love, too.

My client is a perfect example of how a business traveler with many options would leave the comforts of first class, priority boarding and extra legroom for good customer service and fun.  Is your customer service fun and effective?  If so, then so is your personal and business brands.


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Communicating With Aggressive Customers

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Posted on: June 19, 2011

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As a business owner or employee, we all have this problem sooner or later: a customer becomes aggressive, and even hostile, during a business interaction or negotiation.  What should we do?

First, I can tell you what NOT to do from my years of personal experience and observation of others in action.  Rarely does it work to interrupt the customer and offer up reasons as to why they are wrong.  I see this technique happen all the time with my clientele when I am working one on one with them.   My clients often tell me they feel the need to try to stop the customer and make them feel better by giving them the correct version of what happened.

The problem here is that by doing so you are: 1)angering the customer even more because you have interrupted their rant/rave 2) offering up what sounds like poor excuses to justify screwing up, leaving a very poor personal brand of yourself for the customer and 3) showing the customer that you are not able to “confront” them and have an intelligent conversation with them.

When you encounter an aggressive customer, I recommend you do the following:

1. Realize this situation is NOT personal to you- the customer isn’t aggressive with you.  They hardly know you. They are aggressive with the situation and you just happen to be the face of the situation upon whom they can vent. They don’t know you. They don’t know you are a kind person and on their side.

2.  Allow the customer to fully vent or finish their cycle of aggressiveness- Of course, this makes sense so long as they are not physically threatening you. But 9 times out of 10, people just want to be heard.  If you just allow them to be heard, you have given them 90% of what they need and want in that moment.

3. Acknowledge their reason for being aggressive- no matter how nuts you think the customer is being, remember that to them their aggressiveness is very real and right. They may go home and realize they were a jerk, but in that moment they feel hurt and thus, aggressive.  Realize this fact and say something to acknowledge them as humans. It could be as simple as saying, “I totally understand how you would feel this way”.  This statement doesn’t mean you agree with them, but that you get them.

4.  Look them in the eyes and don’t let your gaze drift- holding your own and being able to confront a situation means being able to be with a person in that very moment and looking them in the eyes. I’m not saying stare them down. In fact, that is exactly what NOT to do. But looking with compassion into another human’s eyes, immediately deflates any tense situation. Non-verbal communication is at least 78% of all communication. So by holding a steady gaze, you are saying volumes without saying a word. In fact, a firm and compassionate gaze sets you up for a completely effective and confident and strong personal brand.


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