Like most people in corporate America, I have two sides. By day I’m Dan Vicente, the happy-go-lucky Technical Manager at Exec|Comm, here to solve your technical issues. And by night, I moonlight as a DJ, spinning at various clubs and night spots around the city. As a DJ my job is to keep the momentum of the party going for as long as possible. With a combination of the right tracks, technical skills, and the ability to read the crowd, any DJ will have their audience eating out of the palm of their hand.
One challenge DJs often face is the obnoxiously drunk club goer insisting you play their favorite song. Requests aren’t a bad thing if the song fits in line with your current set, but it’s terrible if it switches the dynamic of the party. This often leads to one happy party goer and a room full of angry guests shooting daggers at you with their eyes. For example, if I’m spinning in Brooklyn and I’m in the middle of a Jay-Z set, your request for Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” will kill the whole vibe.
So how do you say no without coming off like a jerk? Respond using ART.
Transition and answer
Whether in the nightclub or at the help desk, using ART will help you respond to challenging requests and questions.
Acknowledge their emotion and issue. If you ignore the emotion and issue at hand, and jump right to problem solving, the person isn’t going to feel heard OR feel better. So, acknowledge that they feel something about this situation.
“I totally understand your love for that song…”
Relate. Your goal here is to put yourself in their shoes, and truly try to understand where they are coming from.
“I too love Taylor Swift. She’s the modern day John Lennon…”
Transition and answer. Say “and” or pause for a moment. And, avoid saying “but” or “however.” When you say “but” or “however,” you negate the good will you put forth by acknowledging how they felt and relating to their issue. The second you say “but,” you sound defensive; like you don’t really relate or understand. When you slow down and use “and” to connect your thoughts, or simply pause, the response will be more favorable.
Pause…”I’ll try to play your song a little later on tonight. Is that cool?”
So, the next time someone requests Taylor Swift, don’t just shake ‘em off (yes, I went there)! Use ART!