Financial Planning

Better ways of dealing with pessimists

30 January 2019

Dr. Vesna Grubacevic

Dr. Vesna Grubacevic is an author of the Amazon best-selling book, ‘Stop Sabotaging Your Confidence'.

Here are some sure fire solutions to help you better communicate and engage with pessimists in your business.

Do your colleagues, team, clients or prospects always look for problems and what could go wrong? Is your spirit being quashed by other peoples’ negativity? Are your ideas shot down before you have a chance to even explain them? Would you like to be more effective in communicating with a pessimist in business?

Problems and solutions

Some people have a natural ability to find a solution to any challenge or problem, while others automatically see the downside to everything. The solution-focused colleague, client or prospect may be perceived as too much of an optimist and seeing the world through rose coloured glasses. Meanwhile, the problem-focused individual may be perceived as being too negative, doom and gloom and pessimistic.

It’s simply a matter of how different people view the world and how our brain is wired up. Rather than seeing the opposite style to yours as either good or bad, see it as being different and learn how to work with the different style to better engage other people in your ideas and communication. 

Generating solutions

Colleagues, teams, clients or prospects who are naturally solution-focused respond well to and are motivated by:

  • Goals to pursue;
  • What could go right; and
  • Solutions and positive outcomes to strive for.

Their preference for solutions will be reflected in their communication. For example, they will say things like:

  • I want to do well in business, so I can have more time with family and more time to have fun and relax;
  • Let’s discuss how we can achieve our business goals and targets; and
  • How can we find a solution on this project?

Phrases you can use to motivate them include:

  • Here are the goals we want to achieve (e.g.) on this project;
  • These are the benefits we stand to gain (e.g.) from making this decision; and
  • It’s important to focus on the solution (e.g.) to this challenge.

Considering consequences 

Colleagues, teams, clients or prospects who are naturally problem-focused respond well to and are motivated by:

  • Problems to avoid;
  • What could go wrong; and
  • Risks and consequences to consider and avoid.

Their preference for avoiding problems will be reflected in their communication. For example, they will say things like:

  • I want to avoid failing in business;
  • We better be careful of spending too much because we don’t want to get into trouble financially; and
  • This strategy is too much trouble and too many things can go wrong.

Phrases you can use to motivate them include:

  • We need to consider what could go wrong (e.g.) before taking the next step;
  • We don’t want to encounter any problems (e.g.) on this project; and
  • Let’s consider the consequences of going ahead (e.g.) before we make this decision.

Beware the comfort zone

You have your own natural preference in how you are motivated and how you communicate with other people. Beware of staying in your comfort zone and only using your natural preference in communicating with other people if their preference is different to yours. This is a sure fire way to demotivate and disengage your colleagues, team, clients or prospects, which can result in disagreements and arguments; and it is a common challenge I come across when working with individuals, teams and leaders in business.

Instead, carefully listen and pay attention to the words your colleagues, team, clients and prospects use. Are they mainly solution or problem-focused? Then be flexible and adapt to their style by using the above appropriate phrases when communicating with them to achieve your outcome. Notice the greater harmony and understanding that this leads to in your business relationships and how it improves your business success.