I often hear people say that talking about emotions is unprofessional. How come many of us think that emotions don’t belong in a professional environment?

When you feel irritated by your discussion partner, you could try to hide it, but I can guarantee that this will cost a lot of energy. This is because, unfortunately(?), we are not capable of hiding our emotions very well.
And all the effort you put into hiding emotions, can’t be used anymore for achieving the desired result of your discussion or meeting.

Besides, there’s a big chance that your discussion partner will sense your irritation. Probably this will also irritate him/her. When your partner also hides their irritation, the discussion is likely to be far from effective...

Do you really believe that playing “hide and seek” is the same as being professional? And do you also believe that this will leave room for maximum focus on the content of your conversation? Get real!

I think, on the contrary, that it is very professional to share what is really going on. This will positively contribute to the outcome of the meeting. And since you are already having the conversation with yourself about what your feelings are towards your discussion partner, it will probably be more effective to have this conversation together.

I don’t want to plead for jumping on an emotional rollercoaster in every single discussion or meeting. In the end, we do have the goal of making or selling our products....... But constantly hiding your emotions will not positively contribute to the outcome.

The following four steps might contribute, in a simple way, in dealing with emotions in discussions.

There are four possible levels at which we communicate (Content, Procedure, Process and Emotion) in every discussion. I call this the ‘Table Model’.

blog emotions

Irritation is very unlikely to lead to a perfect deal

By politely mentioning your irritation, your discussion partner will know what you’re sensing in the discussion and the chances are greater that he/she will take your needs into account in the discussion.

I wish I could give you a guarantee in this, but unfortunately, I can’t. There simply are no guarantees in interaction. You can only steer towards having a better chance of getting there...

If you’re feeling irritated, often your conversation partner will equally feel something. My strong advice then would be to mention it. Irritation is very unlikely to lead to a perfect deal...

Applying the steps on the previous page, would not mean you have to talk about emotions all day long. Often one intervention, on the 2nd or 3th level, will be enough to get back to the content level.

My one-liner here is: “If necessary go one level down, If possible go one level up”. The sooner you are back at the content level, the better.

And one last tip

Should you want to work on your empathic abilities, ask your conversation partner what he/she is feeling during the discussion (level 4 conversation). Especially if you’re sensing that not everything is working out fine. Doing this might give an enormous relief...

Good luck!

Gert van Grunsven | Trainer & Coach [EN]

gert van grunsven | trainer & coachGert van Grunsven werkte onder andere als leidinggevende en als personeelsmanager. Sinds 2000 is hij fulltime trainer en coach. Hij verzorgt allerlei trainingen gespreksvaardigheden: feedback, beoordelings- en functioneringsgesprekken, adviesgesprekken, verzuimgesprekken et cetera. Daarnaast is hij actief op het gebied van timemanagement, leidinggeven en persoonlijke effectiviteit. Ook coacht hij mensen op individuele basis en adviseert hij organisaties, bijvoorbeeld bij de inrichting van hun beoordelingssysteem.

“Ik heb liever dat je uit een training één of twee dingen uitkiest waarmee je echt aan de slag gaat, dan veertig dingen die je meteen weer vergeet.”