How to Programme Yourself to Respond Calmly in a Difficult Situation

While studying for my Certification in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) a few years back, I picked up a great technique to programme yourself to respond calmly in a difficult situation.  By difficult situation, I mean a situation where you have previously responded in a way that wasn’t useful or helpful to yourself or to the other person and subsequently the outcome wasn’t a good one.

I call this technique the ‘video clip’ technique.   By that I mean, you visualise that you are viewing the video clip of the difficult situation after it has occurred.  So how do you do this and how do you learn from it?

  1. Firstly, you close your eyes and recall the situation from start to finish but you are now viewing it as a video clip from an external perspective.  In other words, you are watching the video clip from the perspective of someone outside of the situation.  You’ll see then all the behaviours, language and actions, both good and bad from this external perspective.
  2. Next, you replay the video clip and think about what advice would you give this person in the ‘scene’.  What could they do better?  What could they say differently? How could they behave in a different way so they could get a better outcome?  What advice would you give to the person to ensure they handle the situation calmly?  I like to give the scene a name so I can easily recall it.  I also like to write the steps down on paper as it helps me rehearse the scene in my head ‘til I get it right.
  3. Then you need to rewind the video but this time, you visualise yourself in the video taking on the advice you have given yourself in step no 2.  In other words, where do you want your mindset to be – in a positive space.  How do you want to act, behave and what do you want to say to get a better outcome? You need to rewind and replay this video clip several times until the video clip becomes an easily recalled memory.

The next time you are faced with a challenging or difficult situation and you want to remain calm, then ‘call up’ this ‘video clip’ memory and play it back a few times before you meet with the person.

If you are already in the difficult situation, then take a moment or two to ‘call up’ the ‘video clip’ memory.  In both scenarios, you’ll be able to move yourself into the good behaviours and mindset you have practised in your mind.  The result will be that you are able to remain calm and gain a good outcome in the difficult situation.

Until next time.