Address people’s emotions before you address their questions

If someone asks you a difficult question, or a personal question, or an emotionally charged question, chances are they’re not going to be listening to what you say.

Instead, all that’s going to be going through their mind is… How will he deal with my feelings? How will he feel about me after I ask this question?

By asking a question, they’re really putting themselves out there. So don’t leave them hanging. Reflect their emotions back to them. State the feelings behind the question. E.g. “I can imagine that could have taken a lot of courage to ask that. Thank you.”

Only after you’ve dealt with their feelings and fears have you then got the opportunity to answer their question.