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3. Behave as if it is personal; react as if it is business.
In every situation, a person can choose how to behave and how to react. Some people choose expediency over doing the right thing—cutting corners to save time and money, or not considering other people’s feelings. If you want to maintain a good reputation, then you have to pay attention to your behavior. Therefore, behave as if it is personal to you, because your reputation is at stake.
On the other hand, you cannot take everything personally. This may seem to be a contradiction, but it really isn’t. This stance enables you to be more objective, while at the same time reminding you to behave with respect and integrity. Understand that the way someone else behaves or treats you is a reflection on them, but not necessarily a reflection on you. If you continually take everything personally, then you will constantly be disappointed and get bogged down in someone else’s bad behavior—in details that are unimportant to you and to the situation you are dealing with. It’s best to react as if it is business. Never react impulsively.

4. Hit the refresh button.

Prior to reacting, we need to step back and “Hit the refresh button.”  Reconsider what’s been said; review your objectives and those of the other party. Listening is a rare skill; once learned, the people you’re dealing with will always recognize your respect for them. Listening also gives you a chance to be silent and not react. Take your time.

 

5. Be aware of how you are treating others.

Be nice—not insipid or insincere, but just straightforward, without being harsh, mean, or aloof. Behave the way you want to be treated.

 

6. Use your sense of humor.

This may be difficult for some, especially in the heat of action, but it can turn the tide in your favor under the most adverse circumstances. Humor will help you break the ice. Be careful though, because inappropriate humor can backfire.

 

Here is an example that happens daily: You’re renting property you no longer can afford, but the lease runs another year. How can you get the landlords to either reduce the rent, or let you out of the lease and refund your deposit?

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September 2006