You said what?

What To Do When, Yes, They Did Just Say That

Posted Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

Sometimes others say or do things that confound us. It is usually some assertion we think is wrong, hurtful, or ignorant. To be polite or because we just couldn’t think of anything to say in the moment, we remain quiet, change the topic, or pretend to ignore what just happened and keep going.

We then spend hours or days seething, worrying, or trying to figure out what to do in response.

Here’s a better way. First, we calm down and raise our buzz so we’re in the best head space. Then we go back and say, “I’ve been thinking about our conversation.” We next either ask a question to clarify or express a concern. Then we make a request like, “Would you be willing to…(some new behavior)?” or “Would you be willing to work with me to figure out a better way?”

We can pretty much always go back.


In your corner,


PS: Some examples. Note the win-win tone.

  • “When you said we should fire Tim, was that because you were thinking he had embarrassed the company and may do it again? Would you be willing to consider a less drastic solution?”
  • “I have a concern. You said that I should stop working on this project because other projects are suffering. I think this is a problem because our clients are already worried that we won’t finish this work on time. Would you be willing to work on a plan with me that addresses the clients’ expectations and pushes forward the other projects?”
  • “When you make bold, angry arguments, I feel frustrated because you appear unwilling to hear my side. Would you be willing to take turns listening and feeding back what we each heard before pressing our points?”


Today’s photo credit: jev55 via photopin cc



Posted Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

Tense negotiations, touchy customer service problems, and other emotionally charged situations usually involve two or more parties protecting themselves from each other.

No matter what form it takes–typically anger, aloofness, inquisitions, or passivity–such understandable protection has an awful side effect. In protecting ourselves, we squeeze off the very channels of communication we need to resolve the situation.

The solution is counter-intuitive: become defenseless. Unless we suspect (even a little) that we are in physical danger (in which case, use every defense you’ve got), we can lower our defenses and re-open those vital communication channels.

We can get there quickly and easily by reminding ourselves that we can handle anything that may happen. We can catch ourselves feeling tense. We can choose to trust ourselves and trust that the Other needs our understanding, relationship, and kindness more than she or he needs to win.

When we first lower our defenses, it can be scary for both sides. Soon it will feel useful, freeing, and powerful.


In your corner,



PS: I am pretty sure everyone can do this. If it seems too difficult, start small. Pick a small, benign conflict to learn from. Try talking through it and practicing with a trusted friend first.

PPS: This is not about communication tips and techniques. If you were to try a technique without first becoming defenseless, it will likely fail.

PPPS: When you become defenseless, new possibilities, approaches, and things to try will pop into your mind. When they do, try them.

PPPPS: It only takes one to have defenselessness work well for everyone. Shall it be you? Sure.


Today’s photo credit: Arno Meintjes Wildlife via photopin cc

I See You

Posted 6 CommentsPosted in Sales and Influence, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

People know how you feel about them. Even if you try to hide it. They can feel whether you respect and trust them or are going through the motions. And they will consistently respond to you according to how you judge them. If they sense disrespect or lack of trust, they will get defensive and your desired results will suffer.

Even if you don’t agree with another, you can invite them not to defend. Before any conversation–especially important ones–quietly say to yourself about the other person, “I see in you the same spark of life and desire for joy that I have.” Then have your conversation and watch what happens.

Odd? Uncomfortable? Touchy-feely? Not to worry; no one else will hear you.

Effective? You bet.


In your corner,


PS: Unsure whether you are respecting or disrespecting, trusting or not trusting someone?  Are they at all defensive? Well, there you go.

Don’t send that email (or txt)!

Posted 2 CommentsPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1

They are easy. They are ubiquitous. And they are overused.

Emails and texts are so easy to send and are great for transactions. Use them for things like, “Where are you?” “I can meet at 2:30” and “The Q2 net disbursements were $1.2M”

They are NOT effective for communicating anything with significant emotion, either positive or negative. The words you write in an email or text make too narrow a pipe to adequately and accurately give your meaning to your recipients.

Missing from email and text are tone and body language.

Need to persuade someone? Need to address a contentious topic? Do you feel tense, angry, worried as you compose an email or text? Then don’t send an email or text.

Pick up the phone. Or visit in person.