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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The Opposite of Knee-Jerk

stimulus-response

Stimulus = what happens to us. Response = what we do next. The “freedom” in between as the picture here illustrates also goes by another name called “communication skills.” And there’s a “big ass gap” between those who are good at this stuff, and those who only think they are.

Consider this:

It’s estimated that 14% of each work week is wasted as a result of poor communication. Miscommunication is estimated to cost an organization 25%-40% of its annual budget. (Linchpin Learning)

According to David Grossman’s research, CEO of Chicago’s The Grossman Group communications consultancy, the plethora of data that’s out there highlights the extremely high costs of poor communication skills for businesses:

“$37 billion total estimated cost of employee misunderstanding in 100,000-employee companies (average cost per company is $62.4 million per year). $26,041 cumulative cost per worker per year due to productivity losses resulting from communications barriers.”

But, the converse is equally noteworthy. Grossman’s data goes on to highlight the financial upside of communicational excellence in the corporate world:

“Companies that have leaders who are highly effective communicators had 47% higher total returns to shareholders over the last five years compared with firms that have leaders who are the least effective. Best Buy found that higher employee engagement scores led to better store performance… individual stores saw a $100,000 increase in operating income annually.”

Holy hell right?! This data and these statistics are external validation for the following…

Yeah, there’s lots of training on “communication skills” out there. There’s no shortage of books and seminars on the subject. But why? As the statistics above make clear, there’s a HUGE NEED for it, that’s why. Anything out there in great abundance is there because there’s demand for it; there’s a market for it. But why is a lot of “communications training” only short-lived at best or ineffective at worst? Because most training resources out there only focus on the “what and how” to enhance communication skills. The critical pieces that are left out is not helping people understand the “why” these skills are often lacking in the first place, and why it’s important to THEM to understand and apply these skills to their day-to-day lives ongoing.

This is where my stuff is different. I dig into the “why” you not only need to, but have to WANT to care about this stuff. Once the why is first, the what and how become much more attainble long-term. Big difference. It’s about the psychology underneath the communication skills… in that order.

Welcome to my world…

Anything less than “Yes, my communcation skills could and should improve,” is evidence of the opposite.

Our knee-jerk reactions are those gutteral, instinctive, evolutionary impulses that lean toward the fight or flight survival responses birthed from the amygdala deep within our “old brain.” That’s why we “snap” or “put our foot in our mouth” or say things like “that came out wrong” or “that’s not what I meant” or any other trite phrase that means: “Sorry, I just blew it.”

That’s why everyone needs great communications training. That’s why everyone can benefit from ongoing awareness of the subtleties of great communication. That’s why anyone who claims they’re exempt from this, are often the ones who need it most.

To become the best communicator you can be requires you to start “seeing things” in a figurative sense. It requires an acute awareness that allows you to miss less than most. It requires a heightened understanding of common human psychology that drives, and can predict most behavior. It requires you start considering facts over your feelings. It requires you making a conscious decision to learn to widen the gap between stimulus, and your responses. It requires you to become a student of emotional intelligence and social intelligences that separate the A players from the B players.

Understanding your audience’s psychology first helps you decide how you could and should respond to their communication second. You cannot change them, but you can change how you choose to react in response to them. This is for your, and their best benefit.

So much of this is the opposite of our typical knee-jerk tendencies and reactions. This is hard work which is why most don’t do it. It’s not necessarily a matter of ability, but of willingness. It requires a certain amount of humility and risk to truly embrace this process and improve. It requires people to pull their heads of their assess, and stop being so completely and utterly self-absorbed so much of the time. It requires the active consideration of others’ feelings, perspectives, and points-of-view. The benefits far outweigh the work, but oftentimes are not immediately evident.

There’s a definite amount of delayed gratification involved here. Patience, another great, but often overlooked communication skill, is necessary. In our fast-paced, hustle and bustle, I want it now society, patience and delayed gratification are foreign concepts to many. Master Communichologists embrace these things proactively, and advance where most others only stagnate.

YOU need this stuff most if you:

  • Feel this is all just common sense.
  • Feel that you’re already a good enough communicator.
  • Feel impatient considering all of this now, and this a waste of time.
  • Feel that “soft skills” are less important than technical skills.
  • Feel that how others feel is of no consequence to you.
  • Feel that thinking about feelings is stupid.
  • Feel the need to get on with it…

So, stop complaining, get pissed, and grow a pair – and drop your name (on the right) to get on my mailing list.

This is about the relentless pursuit of communicational excellence in all ways… always!

Stay tuned-in…

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

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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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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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Avoid-Dance

“I don’t want to go there; I don’t want to talk about that…”

I hear this quite a bit within the different aspects of my work. The frequency of this isn’t surprising, but the high price we pay for this choice often is. There’s a large, collective cost attached to avoidance and denial. It’s often not immediately apparent, but it’s definitely there. It’s called “avoid-dance” for a reason. Because that’s exactly what it is: a fucking dance… a death dance that slowly kills you from the inside out.

Anywhere you don’t want go (emotionally) is exactly where you need to be… (immediately). – @tomleu

It’s normal to want to avoid problems because problems = pain. Nobody wants more pain, we’ve got enough of that shit already right? Many psychologists suggest that the human drive to avoid pain is higher and tends to be more prevalent than our drive to seek pleasure. Read that again. It’s called “avoidance coping” or “escape coping” for a reason. But here’s the thing: side-stepping isn’t a solution; it’s a band-aid, and a weak one at that. The longer anyone avoids their own crap and refuses “to go there,” the bigger the problem becomes, and the less effective the band-aid becomes over time. Have the stones to rip that shit off.

We all have to “go there” sometimes because “there” is where the real solutions to the problems live. Believe it or not, the pain of dealing with the here and now is far less than enduring the pain accumulated by avoiding shit week-after-month-after-year-after-year. It’s called recovery (from whatever is ailing you). Going there is good. Go there so you don’t have to live there.

Face it, fix it, and move on. It’s a risk worth taking. Easier said than done, but no less possible…

Stay tuned-in…

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

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