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.

Motivational Speaking To Yourself For Wisdom

Just about everyone has heard of motivational speaking, but how many really understand the power of motivational THINKING, and how to access it?

While developing communication skills for our interpersonal relationships is an essential part of personal development for team building and leadership, success and great family relationships, the most important dimension of successful communication goes on between you and yourself!

How you think is how you communicate with yourself.

You speak to yourself with mental words and pictures.

To solve your problems and come up strategies for success, you basically consult with yourself.

You formulate a problem or a goal and then you ask yourself, “Now, what can I do about this?”

But, the way you feel impacts the way you think.

The time to engage in strategic thinking about your life is when you feel truly emotionally balanced, in a calm state of harmonious feeling.

Then you can think clearly, accurately and constructively.

When you think in a state of emotional balance you can use your power of thought to direct your life.

You can think about what you want to accomplish and come up with ideas of how to accomplish it.

We can define emotional balance as the foundation for an authentic, positive attitude, turning you into a motivational speaker for yourself: one who can tune into positive thinking for problem-solving, goal-setting and goal achievement.

If you feel blocked or unable to solve your problems or arrive at strategies for success, check on how you are feeling at the time.

Your attitude, mood or emotional state represents the key that either locks or unlocks the mind’s potential for accessing positive solutions and successful strategies.

As long as you feel nervous, uptight, impatient, frustrated, insecure or disappointed, your thinking can do no more than reinforce those disturbed emotional states.

 By letting go of your tensions and intensity and simply trusting that everything is going to work out fine, you render accessible the creative ideas that can show you the way.

Developing the SELF-communication skills of thinking from calm instead of from stress is a way of applying team building and leadership in your relationship with yourself.

When you feel calm, secure and trusting, your state of inner harmony and balance will open your mind to positive thinking for problem-solving, goal setting and goal achievement.

By following this self-help wisdom you will receive motivational speaking from your mind, bolstering your spirit with real solutions and strategies.

Stress Management For Team Building



Team building is undermined by anger and stress in the workplace.

 As anger and stress levels rise, interpersonal conflict increases.

I dealt with this recently in my work with a team leader in a construction firm.  His team was in dire need of anger management and stress management training.

Workers were arguing, finding passive aggressive ways to sabotage one another, and they even had a violent outbreak.  Petty theft seemed on the rise as well.

I was originally brought in as a motivational speaker to boost worker attitude to improve teamwork.

But it became glaringly obvious that these workers were having a hard time coping with change and coping with uncertainty, as their team leadership had gone through 3 transitions in the past 9 months. 

I helped this relatively inexperienced, new team leader understand that worker motivation and stress do not go together.

I helped him understand how teams lose motivation as anger rises.

There was a tremendous amount of griping going on throughout the workforce, severely damaging team morale.

So the team training that I presented began with a short session to management, focusing on the relationship between communication and stress.

Because this workforce had gone through so much change in such a short span of time, they needed to be communicated with in ways that would reduce their stress.

 Communicating in a way that suggests a sufficient amount of transparency is a way that leadership can manage stress in the workplace.

As leadership clearly explained, in team meetings, why team leadership had to change, and what team members can expect going forward, they helped team members better manage emotion.

The next stage of the team building training I presented directly to the work teams.  This included anger management tips to improve their attitude.

One tip helped them see the difference between what happens and how they react to what happens.

They got this lesson on anger and stress management for team building by simply writing down something that occurred, and then describing their angry or stressful reaction to that.

I had them draw a circle around the event.  Then they drew a circle around their description of their reaction.

We did this over and over, and each time it became clearer to those workers how their anger and stress was NOT caused by the changes and uncertainty they were facing at work.

They really SAW that how they responded to what happened was how they made themselves feel in response to what happened. This simple shift helped them to respond more positively.

We also focused on how maintaining a confident attitude translates into more positive relationships, a happier workday, improved worker safety and higher productivity.

The end-result was that we solved the problem of a grumbling workplace with a two-pronged assault:

  1. First, I worked with the corporate team of leaders on increasing transparency in communication for employee stress reduction.
  2. I then presented 2 consecutive days of team building seminars on anger and stress management to the construction work-teams.

As a result, the workplace atmosphere changed. Interpersonal relations improved. The griping greatly diminished and the negative impact of the residue was largely neutralized.

And this, in turn, led to improved team building through a reduction of anger and stress.

Improve Effective Communication In The Workplace

communication skills training for team buildingEffective communication does NOT happen automatically.

 Communication in the workplace demands the development and application of essential communication skills.

Constructive professional communication requires, for instance, the skill of professionalism in communication.

Professionalism in communication means NOT taking what comes up during the communication process personally.

It means relating PROFESSIONALLY, which means responding in ways that advance accomplishment.

Taking communication personally means reacting emotionally in ways that undermine, rather than support, one’s professional objectives.

One of the biggest blockages to effective communication in the workplace is the fact that many of us seem to believe that HOW to communicate well means simply speaking your mind.

For the best team building results, though, it requires ongoing communication skills training.communication skills training for team building

One important skill to develop for communication success has to do with emotional reactions.

First, to improve communication, work on developing your ability to NOT react emotionally to the words that you hear.

Practice deliberately remaining calm, emotionally neutral, in response to the words you hear.

In emotional balance, you can think clearly and strategize your response in line with your objectives.

In one of my recent motivational speaking events on team building, one of the communication skills exercises I suggested was this:

Spend one week working on being more aware of your emotional reaction to words that you hear or read, and to practice remaining calm, relaxed and emotionally neutral to help you to formulate a response-strategy that will further your real objectives. 

communication skills training for team building


For effective communication in the workplace, try out this communication skills exercise and please feel welcome to share your results, and any questions you might have, about this exercise and other ways to improve communication.

Mental Sales Team Training

There may be no more important KEY to effective sales team trainings than the MENTAL key.

You give yourself an invaluable HEAD START (no pun intended) for sales success by first envisioning yourself (in your head) as a successful sales professional.

Look for how you are already a sales success and you will see the ways that you are already achieving success in sales.

A MAJOR mistake made by struggling sales teams is depending upon circumstances to shape their professional self-concept.

This demonstrates a level of ignorance regarding how the mind works, and how to put YOUR mind to work for YOU.

 Look for how you are failing at sales and
you will see how you are failing.

 Look for how you are succeeding in selling and
you will see how you are succeeding.

The principal of mental mechanics that we are looking at here is simply this: You find what you look for.

It doesn’t matter AT ALL how much sales success you have achieved, because even the most successful salesperson in the world can feel inadequate, inferior and UN-successful if he or she looks for reasons to feel that way.

Envision yourself as a successful salesman or successful saleswoman.

Envision yourself with all of the satisfied clients or customers you want.

Routinely contemplate all that is great about what you are selling and why you are selling it.

Discipline your mind to stay out of thought-lines that undermine your belief in yourself or in what you sell.

When you don’t achieve a sale-closing, or even when a gate-keeper blocks your way, trust that you are still on a TOTALLY SUCCESSFUL sales course and you will find your trust justified.

If you worry about your sales career or any particular sales process “going south” you deliver to yourself the demoralizing experience of that happening.

Sales professionals need regular sales trainings that help them to:

1. Identify and reject negative thinking habits

2. Cultivate ever-deeper belief in who they are and in what they are selling.

Success in ANY field, including selling, demands mental mastery.

And the mastery that produces sales team success is ongoing MENTAL Sales Team Training that reinforces a focus on selling success.

Leadership Development For Sales Success

Professional sales people are among those who can benefit the most from leadership development and team building training.

For who more than sales professionals need to develop a loyal following?

Before you can successfully sell to someone, that person needs to feel that you are both on the same team.

Your sales strategy needs to feel like teamwork, or the prospect will view you as an adversary.

At the sale closing, you want the customer to feel that he or she won, and that you celebrate his or her victory.

Let’s look at one of the leadership skills that translate into team building for  selling success.

Leaders lead with the power of vision.  There are many useful ways that the sales professional can use the power of vision for sales success.

Here is one example:  Envision yourself as successful and as worthy of success.

Motivational seminars on leadership development and team building – as well as sales training courses – ought to spend a good portion of the time on how to harness the power of vision, particularly the power of SELF-Vision, because how you see yourself leads to high or to low results.

When we do not pay adequate attention to our thinking, we THINK that we become discouraged because of our circumstances – like a low sales-performance record for the second or third month in a row.

But if you look more closely at your mind, you will see how your self-image determines your self-confidence, your drive, your enthusiasm… or the lack thereof.

Effective leadership development training includes developing a vision of yourself AS A SUCCESS.

You have to practice envisioning yourself as successful to express the self-confidence that inspires others to feel confident enough in you to follow you.

For selling success, see yourself as a success.  Imagine yourself accomplishing the goals you need to accomplish to feel successful.

Pay close attention to your thinking in order to notice when your thoughts slip into tragic ideas of who you are.

When you recognize that happening, immediately work on envisioning a totally successful you.

You achieve results that are consistent with your thoughts about yourself.

By working at visionary leadership development for sales success, you will raise your self-confidence, which builds prospects’ confidence in you, which motivates them to follow your lead… all the way to the sale closing.

Leadership Accountability Thinking

True leadership and accountability go together.

When you hold yourself at least partially accountable for what happens, you empower yourself to lead your people in a better direction.

Being accountable, in a CONSTRUCTIVE way, turns every disappointing turn of events into a lesson for your greater leadership development.

CONSTRUCTIVE personal accountability has nothing to do with beating yourself up over mishaps that come up.

If there is a problem with, say, interpersonal conflict within the team, that simply means that you are being called upon to make an adjustment in your leadership to improve teamwork.

And leadership accountability does NOT mean that you need to handle everything yourself.

To boost the morale of your team you might bring in motivational speakers to help you.

One of the great things that happen as team leadership accepts accountability is that the attitude of accountability “radiates” throughout the workforce, based on the leadership power of MODELING.

Within any large organization there is virtually always more than one individual responsible for what goes “right” and for what goes “wrong”.

But it is most essential team leaders do not attempt to duck or deny their role in whatever happens in the workplace.

At the same time, though the leader needs to hold others accountable as well.

You can instill a culture of accountability within your team through teambuilding activities like the following:

  1. At a team meeting, discuss a problem or challenge, like employees griping about the organization in a secretive fashion.
  2. Then assign every member of the team to come up with one thing that he or she can do to remedy the problem.
  3. Next, discuss one success or praiseworthy accomplishment of the organization.
  4. Then assign every member of the team to come with one way that he or she contributed in some way to that accomplishment.

Teambuilding activities like this one train every member of the team in Leadership Accountability Thinking”, resulting in a higher level of SELF-leadership and performance throughout the team.