Disarming Agitation

I love nothing better than sharing the things that have helped to make my gym successful and I try to keep it simple. My advice for disarming an agitated parent? It’s as simple as two words: “I agree.”

Think about times when you were that agitated parent. Wouldn’t it have made you feel better just to know that someone was listening to your frustrations and feelings and cared that you were agitated? To expand on this idea a little more, perhaps it is also about putting yourself in the parent’s shoes for a moment. The Golden Rule is an amazing thing. It really works because – when you get down to the basics – we’re all pretty similar and react to things in similar ways. So try treating someone as you would want to be treated and you’ll rarely miss the mark.

From my recent newsletter: 

“I agree”. Two words that will disarm an agitated parent, frustrated teacher, or a frightened child, in an instant. ” I agree, it’s hard.” In light situations keep the words after “I agree” nonspecific, when possible.

At a luncheon last Thursday a lady next to me looking very sad. I asked her if she wasn’t feeling well.  She said, “My daughter passed away. It’s so hard to get past this overwhelming sense of loss.” I looked at her and said “I agree, you never will. As time goes on your grief will move slowly to the back of your head then drift down and settle in your heart”. She blinked several times and said “Thank you for not telling me how to feel. You put in perspective how I do feel. I can look forward to a time when I will carry her right here.” Then she put her hand over her heart. Boy, I was just glad I said somewhat the right thing.

Another powerful statement I use is, “I respectfully disagree”. I use this only when people are speaking negatively about themselves. Generally I will say “I respectfully disagree. You are none of the words you just used. Think about how you would describe someone you respect. You’re speaking about yourself, you know.” This remark always elicits a smile.

Eye contact and absolute sincerity are keys to connection in these simple statements.

The parents who bring their children to our facilities want to know that we care. And when we show that we do, it elicits positive responses, whether it’s in defusing a situation or not. Being consistent and genuine in showing that, will almost always give us the benefit of the doubt in any situation that arises.

This works for employees, co-workers and children. It’s because we’re all human. We have feelings. We make mistakes. We care. The secret is to find a special way to show it.

By |April 23rd, 2015|Business News|Comments Off on Disarming Agitation

About the Author:

In 1969, Patti Komara founded Patti’s All-American gymnastics in Dyer, Indiana and it has since become one of the most successful gyms with gymnastics, dance, swimming, and a fitness based nursery school called Gym-N-Learn. Patti began speaking at national seminars in 1981 on preschool and school-age gymnastics and the business of owning a gymnastics school. Patti has spoken for Purdue University and national seminars for AAHPERD, AAEYC, TMCA, USAIGC, IDEA, and USA Gymnastics. She began her national seminars in 1986 and began putting her speeches on videotape and DVDs and then founded Patti Komara’s Tumblebear Connection. Patti has since produced more than 80 instructional DVD’s for instructors and owners. Presently she has written and sells books on yearly lesson plans for The internationally know Tumblebear Gym Program, School-age Gymnastics, Dancing Gym Bears, Yoga Bears, CheerBears, Gym-N-Learn, and her newest book on her very successful swim program. Patti has written over 50 articles on the gymnastics business. In 1995 Patti was selected by USA Gymnastics to be a member f the committee that created the KAT preschool gymnastics certification program and co-authored the KAT workbook. In 2003 she was named USA Gymnastics Business Leader of the Year. In 2005 Patti was selected as Client of the Year by Action International and in 2006 was given the National Service Award by USA Gymnastics at their annual business conference.


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