How to Respond When Someone Takes You Off Guard: Don't Fall Victim Again!


Learn how to respond when you are caught off-guard with rude or aggressive remarks or behavior.

No one likes being in the uncomfortable position of not having the words when someone has come at you with rude and aggressive behavior. Learning how to respond when someone tries to catch you off-guard with rude, aggressive remarks or behavior will allow you to confidently protect yourself and to never be a victim again when someone tries to put you in an uncomfortable position. If being without the words is something that really gets you -  Narrate the Scene!

For example, if you're at work and you were with your supervisor at a client Zoom meeting, and right before you hung up and closed the meeting, your supervisor says to the client something along the lines of  “Thanks for your time today guys. I’ll make sure that next time Dan gets his work  on time so that you're not left waiting for your project like you were last week. Sorry about that. Okay, Dan? Thanks a lot guys. Goodbye.”

What? I can't believe you just said that!! You have a private, silent reaction and then think, how am I supposed to think of something on the spot to say to you when that is so outrageous what you just said? 


How to Narrate the Scene

This is a great tactic that is going to buy you time so that you don’t have to worry about using your creative juices or being emotionally charged in your response. Your response will be straightforward and clear and will spell it out when someone is engaging in underhanded behavior that you don’t want them to get away with. 

Example One

“So let me get this straight. You thought that while we're on a Zoom meeting with our clients and they were telling you that they wanted to ensure that their project was given to them on time this week, I didn't know it was not given to them on time because I always complete my work on time. You thought that that would be a good moment to tell them that?” 

Example Two

All right, Susie, let me see if I'm getting this straight. You thought that during this meeting that we've been all planning for for the past month that that would be an appropriate time right here in front of all of my peers. To start making personal comments about me so that you could simply embarrass me, even though it has nothing to do with the meeting or why we're here, why anyone came here today.

That's what you're saying, that you thought this venue, this time, this crowd would be perfect for that type of message. Is that what you're saying to me? That's, that's where you're at.”

If you are going to be creative when you engage with a difficult person, remember to wait until you are a  little bit emotionally charged down because when you are emotionally charged, it will be more difficult for you to think clearly and creatively on the spot. You will think much better and your responses will be better if you give yourself a minute to take a breath. But don't say anything until you are in control and a tactic like narrating the scene buys you that time while Shining the light on another person and their behavior that is so inappropriate.

Remember that to establish yourself as an authority figure, especially in the realm of communication, takes time.

Stick with me and I'll stick with you.


*Who is professional communication skills expert Dan O'Connor?*

Dan O'Connor Training is the only online professional communication skills training company with over 20 years of experience specializing in empowering professionals and non-professionals alike with the specific words to stand up for themselves while sounding both confident and mindful at the same time, Dan reminds his followers and clients that whatever they have to say, they can say it in a loving way.

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