Decision making is an important part of everyday life, whether at home or in business. We’re constantly being challenged to make decisions, but why is it that the biggest and most important decisions are often presented to us when we are under pressure? When we are under stress we may be swayed into making a bad decision, and one that we regret for years to come. These five “own the moment” strategies will help you make clear-headed decisions, keeping you in control when it really matters.
1. Anticipate and rehearse potential scenarios
How many times have you caught yourself saying, “I knew this was going to happen”? It’s no use berating yourself for being unprepared when you had already anticipated the problem, so use this to your advantage. Brainstorm potential scenarios with colleagues or family members. Once you have a list, consider your options and what decisions you may need to make.
2. Ask for more time
Sometimes it’s impossible to make a hasty decision without having time to consider all the facts. Whether you’re being pressured into buying something, or pressured into agreeing to do something for a client, ask for more time. If the salesperson believes in their product, and the client values your work, they should honor your request for more time, allowing you to make an informed decision.
3. Reach a compromise
Not everyone will be willing or able to give you extra time to make that decision, so why not offer to compromise? Perhaps you’ve got a client with an unrealistic deadline they want met. Assure the client that their project is a priority, and give them a deadline you know you can definitely meet, or perhaps even beat. They’ll be impressed when you deliver early.
4. Walk away
When you’re facing high pressure selling tactics it’s easy to get drawn in, making a decision you will later regret. If you’re dealing with someone face to face, disengage when the pressure gets too much, as this puts you back in control. When you are on the telephone, don’t end on a sour note; simply explain that you’re not ready to make a decision and end the call.
5. Stay calm and focused
Above all else, make sure you remain calm, focused, and in control. If you’re being bombarded with information, take notes so you don’t get overwhelmed and end up losing track of your objectives. By taking notes you can focus on the key issues and make those really critical decisions first. You’ll also have something to refer back to later if it’s necessary to question the decision you made.
In an ideal world we could anticipate all the decisions we’d ever have to make, foregoing the need to make important decisions under pressure, but then who wants to lead a life that’s boring and without challenges? Everyone knows that often the best decisions we make are those that are made under pressure—so if you’re faced with a difficult decision, keep in control, remain calm, and stay focused.© Copyright 2010 Ali Brown