You would know that you have all the power.
You would know that your opinions rule the land….
Are you a good ruler or a bad ruler?
Are you like King Joffrey in Game of Thrones, ready to annihilate anyone who so much as blinks inappropriately? Or are you powerful like Khaleesi, quietly proving your strength?
Go ahead, get defensive. It’s only natural when your idea meets with resistance or your work gets criticized. If you take a defensive stance, it puts you at risk, putting you in a position of weakness. Just the mere act of justifying your actions can undermine your authority at work.
How do you answer questions without getting defensive?
Everyone has an opinion, on everything, and we all have the right to our own ideas whether they are right or wrong, based in fact or perceived fantasy. There are 2 ways you can respond:
War Method: When someone attacks, you surrender, withdraw, or counterattack
Non-Defensive Method: Ask questions; decide what you think, and then respond!
Conversation is different than war, when you defend against criticism; you give your critic power over you.
You might think that if you respond to criticism without defending yourself means you are caving in and losing face, being defenseless. But if you fight back you only are closing yourself off to communication and alienating others.
This is not a win-win situation.
This makes you look bad and undermines your self-esteem. If you can learn to respond to criticism with true non-defensive openness and clarity, and by asking clarifying questions you will enhance your self-respect and create a better relationship with the people in your life.
So how do you answer questions without getting defensive? Here are the rules!
Rule #1: Don’t take it personally.
(Thank the commenter for his criticism – this usually disarms the critic by surprise)
Rule #2: Ask questions, acknowledging their point without being defensive.
(This should diffuse the situation)
Rule #3: Take time to respond.
(I’ll get back to you on that…- you don’t have to answer right away)