4 “Black Flag” Phrases

You know you’ve heard these phrases before… Perhaps you’ve likely said them yourself…

I call them “black flag” phrases (even worse than a “red flag”), and you should be very afraid of them… These statements are communication suicide for practitioners, though they usually don’t realize it at the time. These statements reveal much about the person saying them, and it ‘ain’t good. These phrases are screaming: “I’m scared; I’ve been hurt; I don’t want to let you in; I’m keeping my defenses sky high to avoid future pain from you, or anyone else.” While this is common stuff most of us have felt at one point or another, it doesn’t change the fact that saying any of the following is stifiling your credibility as an effective communicator:

  1. “I don’t like people, and I don’t trust anyone.” – This statement is made by people who have very likely been hurt, and hurt bad by others in their past. Their dislike and/or distrust for others, while perhaps real, is nonetheless a big wall erected to keep people at bay so they cannot be hurt again.
  2. “I don’t care what anyone thinks of me.” – This statement screams of low self-esteem and of one’s overwhelming desire to fit in and be liked. They care so much, they seek (and get) attention by claiming the opposite.
  3. “I tell it like it is. I speak my mind; when it’s on my mind.” – This statement is an intimidation tactic used to strike fear into others and to coerce compliance. It’s a technique to appear outwardly strong and confident when internally, this person actually feels weak and unsure of themselves quite often.
  4. “I’m not a conformist; I do my own thing.” – Making this statement is also evidence of the opposite because everyone says it. There seems to be this irrational fear of conforming to anything in our society. It’s as if you’re less than, or weak if you do anything that the majority does. Of course, extreme conformity and spinelessness are no good. But, everyone is a conformist to some degree or another. It’s a requirement for a civilized society.

Eradicate these statements from your lexicon. They’re weak; therefore they make you look weak. And you can’t afford that when others’ attention is today’s compensation… So how do you handle someone spewing this stuff?

the shiFt:

First, understand that the exact opposite of what is being said is typically the truth. These phrases are psychological defense mechanisms to keep danger away; to keep others at bay, and to avoid having to experience any more pain.

Second, ask these folks some questions, lots of questions. These questions should be tailored to expose the folly of these over-generalized, blanket statements. Practitioners of “blag flag” phrases won’t take your word for it. They need to be guided (by your skillful questioning) to believe they’ve arrived at their own conclusions about the ridiculousness of these statements. Then, and only then, will they begin to shift their behavior and counter these self-defeating declarations.

Stay tuned-in…

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What’s your role?

Square peg. Round hole.

Have you thought about the many different types of situations and circumstances you find yourself in daily, weekly, monthly?

Personal and/or professional.

Sometimes the lines are clear which is which. Sometimes they’re not.

Who you are and your purpose in differing settings drives what you do next to achieve your desired outcomes.

It’s imperative to always be cognizant of your role(s) in any situation you’re in.

It’s not a one-size-fits-all.

One simple but specific question to ask ongoing is:

What’s my role?” Right here, right now.

Your role influences your responses, reactions, and interactions.

Be specific. Be honest. Am I the boss? A peer? A subordinate? The competition? A hired gun? A friend? The foe? A family member? A disruptor? The peacemaker? More than one of the above?

The types of “roles” you play at any given time are numerous and nuanced.

Answering the “What’s my role?” question informs your next behavior(s): What to do. What not to do. How? Where? When? If to do it now, etc.

Pause. Ask the question. Be objective. Proceed accordingly.

Stay tuned-in…

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Eighty-Eight (88)

Why is it when someone does things differently or chooses a different path (seemingly abruptly to others), they’re quickly labeled by some as running from something? Or they’re in denial, or backsliding, or afraid?

Is it possible that perhaps for the first time, they’re finally figuring things out? Is it possible that they aren’t running away from anything, but rather running toward something? Toward their truth perhaps? Toward a life and a lifestyle that’s been there for them all along?

Is it possible that culture’s conventions and our society’s inventions aren’t for everyone? Is it possible that cosmic interventions are real for some? Or are these assertions only for movie audiences or fans of fantasy novels?

Lots of people choose alternate roads to traverse that clash with common convention. I applaud this and endorse this. Be a responsible risk-taker, but take risks. You only get to go once around the ride.

Make it count.

Stay tuned-in…

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Eighty-Seven (87)

Oftentimes, I see things that I suspect others do not see. I notice “communication” happening that isn’t super obvious. I’m tuned-into much of the unspoken, the often-overlooked, the intended or unintended subtleties that fly back-and-forth between people seemingly undetected.

I like to say I work hard to miss less than most. It has its pros and cons. This awareness is a form of social intelligence that many times can be a double-edged sword. I always preach about the power of human relations awareness, but sometimes awareness is inconvenient and uncomfortable. It can be exhausting because it can’t be shut off. There’s indeed a price to pay for this privilege. They do say after all that “ignorance is bliss.”

Sometimes I wish that I was a little less aware. A little more insulated, and a little more ignorant about certain things. Might make life, you know, a little less complex. But then again, is that a good thing?

Stay tuned-in…

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Lovers & Haters

“To escape criticism… do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”~ Elbert Hubbard

As a creator of any kind of content, the middle-ground is the dead zone.

Getting lovers gets you haters.

For the same reasons that you cause some to “love” you and what you do, you’re necessarily going to cause some to “hate” you and what you do.

This is good. Marketing. Business. Life theology.

This IS what you want…

“If you’re not generating a negative response from someone, you’re probably not fascinating anyone.”~ Sally Hogshead

I say it often: I’m not seeking consensus nor controversy within my work. I’m seeking critical thinking. Dissension gets attention but is often a cruel tool. But recognize that being polarizing at times can be very positive for your purposes. Move away from the middle…

Well-known examples of people who provoke strong love/hate reactions for many just by mentioning their name: Donald Trump, Kanye West, Axl Rose, Howard Stern, Simon Cowell, Russell Brand, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Maher. How about brussel sprouts, black licorice, CNN, Fox News, televangelists, and on and on…?

Understand that the mere presence of haters means you’ve struck a powerful chord. Take this as success, not failure, because you’re now finally on the radar.

Don’t hate the haters. They’re confirmation that what you’re doing has real merit. Their rabid rancor is the result of the compelling communication of your content.

Diplomatic, vanilla-flavored fluff isn’t going to get anyone’s attention anywhere.

“There is no defense against criticism except obscurity.”~ Joseph Addison

I’ll always advocate choosing to overcome critical adversity rather than endure habitual obscurity.

Resist the urge to please the majority.

Instead, persist in the urgency to please your minority… that niche you know digs what you do.

This will win you more fans than foes in the long run.

This may require a shiFt in perspective.

This may also require that you unapologetically grow a pair.

You see, some will love that “ballsy” last line while others will hate it.

But I can’t care because this is how I think, how I talk at times, and who I am. The real me.

So, I love you lovers, and I love you haters.

What about you?

Come one, come some… just come. Perhaps in pairs… 🙂

Stay tuned-in…

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Three-Sixty-Self

Hard truth: People are self-centered more than they’re not.

Everyone’s favorite subject is themselves; whether they admit it or not. **Think about it: you’re thinking about you and yours, much more than anyone or anything else, the majority of the time. Your day, your job, your money, your family, your friends, your food, your plans, your life…

It’s not negative. It’s normal. It’s survival. You have to think about these things to take care of the business of your life. To survive…

And as such, each and every person is therefore in the “sales” business.

And knowing this, and acting on this, gives you a huge advantage socially and professionally. It’s a core principle of Communichology™ that I write and speak on often.

Those who are truly successful at marketing, promoting, and persuading others understand one key distinction:

Whatever you do or produce has to make people feel something about themselves to get them to respond.

Be it hope or fear, it’s the feelings tied to their emotions that people actually “buy” (literally or figuratively).

Your offering (a product, service, or yourself) must move them emotionally first, before it will move them behaviorally.

Your offering must communicate something that is about them and for them.

If it’s about you or someone else, they’ll care less. They’ll get bored and move on. So if they believe it’s about them, they’ll stay tuned-in and interested.

Most people are most interested in that which relates to them and theirs. To fill their needs by increasing their pleasure and by reducing their pain. To discover ways to better their lives by enhancing what’s already good and/or by improving what’s not-so-good.

**All of life’s pursuits, passions, progress, and problems involve people endlessly searching for ways to fill these needs.

So you “make it” by filling a need and making it feel like it’s about them, not you.

Make someone feel and you’ve now made a fan.

To do this, you must…

Present the universal so that it’s perceived as personal.

Then they will pay attention. Then they will respond.

Which is what you want. Which is also what you need.

Because this isn’t about them. It’s actually about you.

It’s for you:

  • …to use
  • …to do
  • …what you need to do
  • …to feel the way
  • …you want to feel
  • …about you.

It’s a win-win.

And then it comes full circle, and then cycle begins again…

Stay tuned-in…

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“Human Relations”… not-so-common-sense

For years, I taught a college course called “Human Relations.” It was always my favorite class to teach because the content blended principles of communication and psychology, and was the inspiration for many of my Communichology™ concepts going forward.

The course was often misunderstood at the outset by both students AND staff because the title is so obviously deceptive.

Many people zoomed right on by the significance of these two words, and therefore missed the power of the course and its many practical concepts and applications in day-to-day life. Further, this course and its content was often dismissed as “common sense.”

This stuff is easy to talk about, but difficult to do.

>> Human Relations = to relate (effectively) to other humans… pretty straight-forward right? Not necessarily…

Here’s where it gets tricky…

Effectively relating to others, and demonstrating empathy, requires us first to effectively relate to, and understand ourselves, honestly. Again, easy to say, hard to do… no small task for many, dare I say, MOST people.

This subject is as internal as it is external… just like looking in a mirror is both an internal and external exercise simultaneously. We first have to see ourselves, and then hopefully we will “see” ourselves. Without being truly in touch with ourselves first, we will be arguably less effective when dealing with others. Communication works if it’s worked.

The mirror has to reflect both ways. Many “get” this, but fail to really get into it fully.

It’s work. It’s often very difficult work. But it’s very necessary.

the shiFt: there are 3 steps in this journey:

  • Awareness – We first have to tune-in and begin to know > what we don’t know, or think we may know > but may be mistaken about our own psychology and communication skills.

To do: Admit that perception isn’t always reality, and begin owning both your good and not-so-good tendencies and habits.

  • Education – Next, we need to set about learning more about ourselves; about our blind spots… and about how our history, and our experiences shape the complex nuances of our interpersonal communications with others.

To do: Take a Human Relations-type course, workshop, or seminar >> or two, or three…

  • Application – Finally, we have to act on this awareness and education and begin an ongoing process of applying what we now know… now. Define and then refine and repeat.

To do: Practice at home and on the job; a lot. Strive to miss less than most.

Bottom Line:

Far more than just common sense, human relations is a critical skill set that can be developed provided the proper amounts of courage, honesty, and ongoing diligence are present. The importance of this discipline cannot be overstated.

Becoming a master of yourself affords you the opportunity to be masterful with others… in many kinds of situations, most of the time.

And who doesn’t stand to benefit from that?

Stay tuned-in…

Please share and click HERE for info on my Communichology course.

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