Effectively Communicating With Difficult People – How To Win Even When You Lose

Effective communication skills in the workplace, as well as in our personal lives, need to include how to effectively communicate with difficult people.

We can define a difficult person as someone who seems unable or unwilling to cooperate with you in a way that you regard as reasonable.

From your perspective, this other person seems walled-off to your rational argument, unreasonably inflexible and pointlessly unreachable. It is not uncommon for the person who refuses to listen in a meaningful way to slip into a defense mechanism as a response to what he or she PERCEIVES as you personal attack.

Some people are so insecure because of their painful personal history that they interpret your attempt to influence them as an expression of negative personal judgement aimed at intentionally discrediting them.

So what you are often dealing with, when you encounter a person who is hard to get along with, is a wall of personal insecurity that blocks reason.

Some insecure people feel threatened and attacked if you recommend a way of doing something that differs from how they are operating.

They interpret your well-meaning attempt to help as a negative commentary intended to leave their self-confidence undermined and their self-worth demolished.

While you may try using more emotional intensity to break through the “wall” of the difficult, or even impossible person, you need recognize when you are wasting your effort and causing yourself more hardship and pain by struggling to win a no-win situation.

Once you realize you are being sucked into a petty personal power-struggle sparked insecure ego-domination, it’s time to change your tactics.

Engaging in a more aggressive communicating style will most likely serve to accomplish nothing more than to intensify the confronting defensiveness.

Calm down to clarify your thoughtsTake a few moments to calm down so you can get clear about exactly what it is that you want to communicate to the unreasonable person, and why.

The more emotional intensity you feel, the more impossible it will be for you to gather your thoughts and come up with a clear intention.

 You need to be calm to be clear.

 Once you know what you want to convey as your message, consider alternative communication strategies.

It might be best to wait and speak about it later, when you feel less threatened by the resistance posed by the “difficult individual” or when that other person can feel less threatened by you.

It might be best to compose a note and deliver it by hand, via e-mail or even via conventional post.

Think outside the box! I know one couple who found that writing down what they wanted to say, and letting the other person read it, right there in the midst of the conflict, would resolve the conflict and allowed both to calm down.

It may be that there is an unconscious hostility or antagonism conveyed by your tone of voice that is triggering the insecurity and defensiveness of the other person.

It may be that you are dealing with such a negative individual that he or she is intentionally resisting your point of view with an aim of “getting your goat” and making you feel dominated, feel powerless, feel out-of-control.

Whatever the other person’s hidden agenda though (which no doubt has it’s roots in early childhood), to the degree that a difficult mate, an unreasonable customer service rep, an excessively adamant boss, an insecure coworker, etc. can “get to you”, to that degree you have self-work to do.

If you feel frustration, if you feel insecure, if you feel powerless, YOUR REACTION IS YOUR FIRST COMMUNICATION PROBLEM. When you lose your peace and poise, you lose your power of persuasion – when the person you are facing is being defensive and insecure.

To communicate for success, you need to feel calm, feel confident, and feel secure. Then you are in the “right state” to come up with a strategic response, and your secure attitude and calm voice tone will help the other person to feel more secure – maybe secure enough to let down his or her guard against your rationale.

Make it part of your purpose to develop the self-confidence and develop the composure to calmly and securely face another’s resistance to your will.

And when NO communication course you can think of seems to work, take that as your cue that it is time to form a success strategy that does NOT depend upon effectively communicating with this unreachable human being.

Relate with another’s difficult personal behavior as your opportunity to recognize how YOU need to grow for less interpersonal conflict and more personal success and fulfillment.

The Life-Mastery Success Strategy


life mastery



Here is a success strategy to keep in mind: Every time you do something for what you want to bring about, you progress a step closer to the goal-achievement you are after.

Whatever it is that you want to happen in your life, as you take action for what you want, you advance toward your success.

Just thinking about your goal, envisioning yourself in the conditions you want in your life, is a form of taking action for it – it represents MENTAL action.

Anyone who feels stuck in procrastination, try spending time envisioning yourself taking the action you want to take.  This will build your motivation to actually take that action.

Of course, fantasizing yourself accomplishing a goal may not be enough to instantly materialize that goal.

Imagineering, or imagining yourself experiencing what you want, represents just one thing that you can do for for achieving success.

Team building is another thing you can do.  As you build relationships with people who canform strategic alliances help you, you increase your power by having more supportive people backing you.

Forming strategic alliances is a way to be more successful.

But to harness mind-power is a perhaps the most important thing to do because it gives your life direction.

Envisioning what you want to accomplish directs your subconscious programming, causing you to make choices – often without realizing it – in line with what you want to achieve as your goal.

The moment you visualize in your mind what you want in your life, you head there.

Envisioning what you want also helps you to feel more self-confident, to feel more motivated, to feel more determined.

All of this helps you to take more powerful, positive action for what you want.

When you practice remaining aware of the now, by intentionally paying attention to the present moment,  you can do even more for what you want.

You can more quickly notice when your thoughts, attitude, speech or actions are straying into a self-sabatoging pattern, including anxiousness and worry, getting distracted by petty rivalries, emotionally reacting to things that have nothing to do with your goal achievement process.

All of this wastes energy and time, diverting your power and thereby sabotaging the success that you want most.

The power in your thoughts, feelings, speech and actions is creative in nature.

Approach life with the pro-active mindset that you bring about what you think for, what you feel for, what you speak for, and what you take action for.

When you think of the success you want you draw it to you.

When you allow yourself to feel like the success you want to feel like, you attract that success to yourself.

When you apply the power of speech to help you to achieve what you want, the creative power of your speech helps you to achieve it.

And when you take action for what you want, when you work for it in any way, you are creating the condition you work for, just as a sculptor creates a sculpture by applying the hammer and chisel to carve out his dream.

Whatever mishap, loss, set-back, disappointment, delay or opposition you encounter along the way is nothing but another opportunity to make the best use of your power in line with what you want to accomplish.

As you make that “best use” you are growing in mastery – the mastery required for manifesting the most beautiful life that you can imagine.

As you exercise your power to think, feel, speak and take action for what you want under all conditions, you grow in mastery and apply a success strategy that turns every moment into a golden opportunity .

Team Building To Enhance Teacher Motivation For Student Success

 One way to boost student performance and lower the school drop out rate is to offer regular team building programs for school staff, aimed at enhancing teacher motivation.

It’s obvious that student motivation is essential for the student’s academic success.

It should be just as obvious that one of the primary sources of student motivation is teacher motivation.

Highly motivated teachers exude enthusiasm, a love of learning and teaching, a love for their students and a commitment to student success.

This highly charged state of motivation radiates from the teacher into the classroom.

So one key to raise the level of motivation in students is to nurture, foster, support and even ignite the motivation in teachers.

One cause for a drooping level of school faculty morale is a communication problem with administration.

boost student performance by boosting teacher self-esteemIf administration communicates with teachers in a way that makes the teachers feel under-valued, those teachers may lose some self-esteem, and a loss of self-esteem translates into a lack of motivation.

Administration can cause this to happen through both verbal and non-verbal messages.

School principals may undermine faculty motivation and performance verbally by:

  • Verbally harping what teachers do wrong and expressing too little appreciation for what they do right
  • Telling teachers outright that you regard them quite replaceable
  • Verbally castigating a teacher in front of his or her students
  • Being verbally defensive about your position when questioned instead of being open to integrating the teachers’ perspective into your understanding

A school administrator can drain teachers of self-respect and motivation through non-verbal forms of communication as well, like:

  • Excluding faculty from decision-making processes that directly impact their jobs.
  • Being gruff or non-responsive to pleasantries or polite greetings offered by teachers when they encounter you in the hall
  • Expressing an attitude of annoyance, impatience or even disdain when teachers come to administrators for support.
  • Talking down to teachers, as if they are unruly and undependable children.  (It may not be the words that convey this, but the unspoken attitude.)

As a general principle, administration fails faculty by relating from a personally insecure stance.

raise student performance by raising teacher motivation

By cultivating more self-confidence and developing the motivational skills of administrators through school team building trainings, we can help faculty to be more motivated, which translates into more motivation and success for students.


By helping teachers to develop more self-confidence and self-esteem, and teaching them additional skills for getting and staying motivated through motivational school team building trainings, they can overcome at least some of the limits of administration, and soar higher through administrator support, for higher student performance and improved graduation rates.improve teacher motivation to improve student performance

How To Set Goals To Achieve Goals


You would think it to be pretty obvious that you need to set goals in order to achieve goals.

There is probably not a single professional motivational speaker who has not addressed the motivational power of visualizing what you want to accomplish.

Knowing what you want to accomplish will boost your motivation.

Probably the best reason for setting a personal or professional goal is simple: Once you know what you want to accomplish, your life automatically moves in the direction of that accomplishment.

Setting a goal sets the goal accomplishment process into motion.

Then why do so few people get around to goal setting?

One reason might be because they do not realize that setting goals boosts their chances of achieving what they want in life.

Another reason might be that they do not know HOW to set a goal.

Setting goals appears to be easier than it really is.

One common blockages to achieving personal success through goal setting has to do with living in a habitual negative mindset.

We live in a negative mindset by worrying about the future, thinking about what is wrong, focusing on what we dislike, dwelling in thoughts about what we regret or whom we resent.

Filling the mind with darkness leaves it with insufficient mental “space” to receive a bright idea of what we want to accomplish

At a recent team building and leadership development training that I presented, I asked team members to list their goals.  But all they came up with were problems.  They listed things like:

• No more unfair distribution of work-projects

• An end to management “revenge tactics”

• Discarding time-wasting rules

 While these may look like goals, they are really a list of problems.

Setting a goal is like asking someone for what you want.  When you ask a person to NOT do something, you are not being clear about what you want instead.

To set a goal effectively, state what you want, not what you want to avoid or to end.

 A goal is a positive statement
describing what you want.

It took a while in that team building and leadership development training to help the participants formulate what they actually wanted.  The changes looked like this:

• Fair distribution of work-projects

• Management employing only forthright, direct and “up-front” strategies

• A review of rules that work-teams assert to be time-wasters

To prepare your mind to set goals successfully, practice shifting your attention OFF of what
you do NOT want, and onto what you
DO want instead.