What do you do when you’re not happy with your meal at a restaurant (it’s cold, not what you ordered, not cooked properly), or are disappointed with the service of a shop or business?

Do you:

A: Have a reasonable, calm, and polite conversation directly with staff or management to outline your concerns, give the establishment a chance to respond and rectify the situation, and try to reach an amicable solution (assertive).

B: Say nothing, but seethe internally (passive).

C: Say nothing directly to the business, but then bag it out to everyone you know afterwards, or put a negative post on your social media pages (passive-aggressive).

D: Tell staff loudly, abruptly, and rudely that the food/service is crap and you expect a full refund immediately or will never be back; or just walk out (aggressive).

I am constantly surprised and disappointed by how many people avoid fair, reasonable and direct conversations and instead go with options B, C, or D.

Option C is particularly prevalent now, with many people happy to rant via a keyboard, but not to have a conversation to someone’s face. Sure, if you speak with a business and are still unsatisfied with the outcome, put it on social media if you feel the need – but at least give them the chance to make amends first.

Providing feedback in a fair and constructive manner is not rude and it’s not whingeing. It’s the opportunity to have your needs met and also allows the business to fix the problem and improve in the future. Good businesses will appreciate you raising the issue with them as it provides the chance of a win-win outcome.

So next time you’re unhappy with food or service, speak up. And if you’re not sure how to do that, put Tuesday 30 October in your diary and come along to my public workshop, Don’t Shoot the Messenger: How to have difficult conversations and communicate under pressure, at RACV Inverloch Resort from 9:30am-2:30pm.

Tickets are available at www.dstminv.eventbrite.com.au.

Leah Mether is a consultant, trainer, speaker, author and director of Methmac Communications. She teaches people how improve their communication skills and step up for success. To find out more about Leah’s upcoming public workshops or to learn about the training she can offer your workplace, visit www.methmac.com.au