In tennis, an approach shot puts you in a favorable position for the next shot. For example, if your opponent is at the net, you drive them deep into the corner and follow up with a drop shot where the ball is hit softly and falls just over the net.
Relationships are similar in nature. The way you approach others can put you in a better or a less favorable position. For example, if you want to communicate better with your son or daughter and you ask attacking questions, you will get defensive answers.
“Why did you wait until the last minute to start this project? Now we can’t go to the movies together.” And then, of course, the zinger, “You’re just irresponsible.”
Your child becomes defensive and answers with a shoulder shrug and a, “I don’t know” response. Or he embarks on a list of excuses that you quickly attack.
In negotiations and in developing stronger emotional intelligence, approach shots are important.
The following tips can be useful to develop stronger approach shots:
- Name the feeling.
- What caused the feeling?
- What do you really want as a result of this conversation?
- How can you validate the feeling without compromising your position?
Here’s how it works for this Dad:
“I’m disappointed that we can’t go to the movie tonight, and I realize you must finish your project. I am concerned that you put it off until the last minute. How can I help so this doesn’t happen again?”
In reality, relationships are different from tennis points in that our goal is not to win the point but to win with a stronger relationship. Emotional intelligence includes the ability to predict, with some certainty, how your approach will be received by others.
Today, when the opportunities arise, made an attempt and be aware of your approach shot. Is it going to work for you? Or will it cost you the game?
If the answer is no, then perhaps there is work to be done. I specialize in career advancement and career change for any professional looking to make an improvement in their career performance, increase their income and make more money!