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Don't Let People Push Your Buttons

All of us have issues, concerns or people--especially people--who "push our buttons."

They create an emotional response that can send us over the edge. We might respond with anger, defensiveness, disgust or hurt.

These are normal human reactions, but when you're giving a presentation or doing a media interview--something where your reactions are being gauged, it's important to control your response.

That's why in my workshops and coaching I'll spend time with this simple concept: Don't let people push your buttons. It's much easier said than done, of course.

Cover Your Buttons

I touch the middle of my chest when talking about this and say "these are your buttons, let's cover them up." I would have you imagine before your presentation that you are putting on a flack jacket that has a shield over your chest--covering your emotional triggers, your buttons. This way your buttons are covered and no one can touch them.

Here's how this works: You and your team are presenting a project plan internally and one of your rivals brings up a negative about how your team handled a similar project in the past.

Naturally this could make you angry and defensive. Your emotional instinct would be to attack that person and his credibility. Or to try to defend yourself with a long explanation. Don't do it. If you do that, he wins. 

Take the High Road

Take the high road and briefly respond in a way that makes minimizes the issue, then move on. Dismiss it from your mind. 

This happens all the time in media interviews, where it is a reporter's job to make you uncomfortable so that she can get a response that will be different and interesting for her readers or viewers.

So it's critical that you don't over-respond to a comment. You can't control what people will say, but you can control your response.

Just stay calm in the moment, breathe and move on in your communication.  By the way, this works well in your personal communications as well--give it a try at home.

Q: How do you respond to perceived attacks or ridicule in public settings? 

Answer in the comments, or share with your friend who might need this now.