March 1st 2022

How to Manage Emotions when Communicating

Recent reports to the OCCS have shown an increased tension and hostility towards opticians from members of the public. Following on from the coronavirus pandemic, one of the major issues our resolution team deals with is how to improve communication and raised emotions.

In today’s article, we look at how to manage emotions when communicating both as a member of the public and as an optical professional.

No matter what your role may be in an optician office, one often needs to interact and communicate with colleagues and clients when emotions are running high. Communicating successfully, despite extreme emotions, is key to relationship building and conflict resolution.

It goes without saying that emotions and emotional exchanges are unavoidable. The key is to learn how we can effectively navigate a conversation when emotions are high.

Frustrations are Natural

Frustrations are a daily part of our lives and none more so when facing members of the public whose expectations are high. As a professional one wants to provide and deliver the very best service and client care within the treatment that one provides. Of course, despite all of our best efforts, things may not turn out how we want or how a client wishes.

Frustration, naturally, can arise when expectations and reality do not align. When frustrations do arise it is important that, if faced with hostility and rising emotions, we can successfully navigate the scenario through understanding, de-escalation and a move towards a solution.

Understanding

Understanding, whilst not fully agreeing, can be a difficult concept to grasp. As a professional, true listening and true understanding of a client’s concerns about a complaint is extremely important in building a bridge to a solution. In scenarios when faced with an emotional client, it becomes even more important to understand their point of view, stay within the concern through acknowledgement and moving towards a resolution. As a client, likewise it is vital to remember that your optician has your best interests at heart and through fair and clear communication one can get to the heart of the matter much more quickly than through an emotional interaction.

Communication Techniques

Straightforward verbal communication usually focuses on facts and data, while nonverbal communication adds your emotions to the message being delivered. A mixture of both verbal and non-verbal communication is important to ensure that your message and feelings are successfully communicated and give the other party the best chance of understanding what it is you are trying to say. If, as a professional, you find yourself in an emotional situation it is important to recognise how your body and mind is reacting in order to maintain calm and composure. Trying to relax and focus on delivering positive emotion can help and statements that acknowledge the situation, how the person is feeling and what they are looking to achieve can help to diffuse the situation and move towards a more acceptable form of communication.

Tips and Advice

Staying calm in heated situations is never easy. We have put together a list of useful techniques that can assist you in staying on message and not allowing your emotions to control the way you communicate.

  • Calm your body by pulling your shoulders away from your ears and taking deep breaths. By bringing oxygen into your body, you are calming your muscles and allowing your body to release tension
  • Use positive nonverbal cues such as open arms, nodding and eye contact to ease the other party as well as yourself. Lowering your voice to a more calming tone can help the other person to stop and listen to what you are trying to say
  • Respond to the other person’s concerns by restating what you have heard and asking for clarification. People involved in an emotional discussion might say something that they did not intend to share. Therefore, by restating what you heard, you provide the other person the opportunity to clarify the information
  • Engage the other individual in the conversation by being the first person to take responsibility and attempt to offer a solution to their concerns
  • Speaking with colleagues to understand how they deal with situations or asking for their feedback can be immensely useful. They can act as your advisers, providing honest and realistic input concerning your communication style and effectiveness. They not only understand your style but also realise how your verbal as well as nonverbal communication might affect others.

Letting our emotions get the best of us in the form of raised voices, abusive language and anger certainly does not help the situation. By managing our emotions, keeping calm and not arguing we can be more patient and understanding.

Naturally, complaints and issues can occur and by being more patient we may be able to mitigate this. However, when a complaint or issue is raised the OCCS is on hand to assist through our neutral and impartial mediation.

Contact our team via enquiries@opticalcomplaints.co.uk or on 0344 800 5071for more information and to speak to a dedicated member of our team.

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