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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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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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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Communication tRumps Qualifications

For years now I’ve been training and teaching that “communication skills” is THE premier skill set to master and possess. It’s more important than any other technical skills that you may have. It’s more important than letters after your name. It’s more important than a fat file stuffed with certifications, accolades, and endorsements.

Communication skills are the crème de la crème, and the king of all assets to obtain and deftly demonstrate as a functioning human being.

It’s tricky though, because in theory, most will agree with this assertion. But in practice, few consistently demonstrate the effective soft skills, at the high levels, they claim.

Don’t believe me? Just look around: at your place of employment, within your family dynamics, with your friends, at the corner gas station, or grocery store. Communication breakdowns are prevalent, even rampant, everywhere, all of the time. So it stands to reason, that we all can’t be as good at this shit as we think we are. If we were, we wouldn’t have the problems that we do… or at least the frequency and duration of them would be much less. But it’s not the case. According to an Inc. magazine article, it’s “estimated that communication barriers cost the average organization $62.4 million per year in lost productivity.”

But what some may see as communication barriers or breakdowns, others see as opportunities to circumvent the system. To get ahead. No matter the cost.

At a very basic level, but hardly basic in its execution, Donald Trump’s secret weapon was using strategic, persuasive, and clever communication skills to become the 45th President of the United States. Approximately, half or less of you reading this believe Donald Trump was not qualified to be the President of the United States. Sure, he’s been successful in business (depending on how one defines “success”), but that doesn’t qualify him to run a government, nor to be the figure-head of the free world. He’s proven that he does not possess the temperament, nor the appropriate kind of selfless communication skills to lead the nation diplomatically, and bring people together.

But here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if he’s qualified or not. He was not the President because he was qualified to be, but because he executed both masterful, as well as mindless (and perhaps illegal) communication skills at the necessary times, in the necessary ways, to influence and move mass behavior in the necessary quantities. He used social media in ways never before seen by a sitting United States President. Some were aghast over it, while others reveled in it.

And this proves all I’ve ever said about communication and its affects on everything. And that is this:

Move others toward you with how you communicate, and what you are technically “qualified” to communicate… will matter much less.

It’s about influencing people to take action. Just because you may not like it, doesn’t make any less true. You see, communication trumps qualifications every time. Convincing enough people that you are qualified even if you aren’t, through strategic communication, is what qualifies you. It’s been happening throughout history. But the questions become how will this communication will be used?

And what side of history do YOU want be on?

Stay tuned-in…

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

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Thirty-Seven

37

In business, a good majority of a manager’s time, hell… in most occupations, or just life in general, is spent delivering bad news to people. It’s telling people what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. It’s coming from a place of caring for versus caretaking. The idea is that if we truly “care” about a person, we will have the courage to share with them where they have opportunities to improve and grow; i.e. where they’re fucking falling short. Anything less is caretaking and harmful to them in the long run because caretaking people is really just enabling someone to stay stuck in mediocrity, or worse. We do this shit because we’re selfish. We don’t want people to get pissed at us for telling them the truth they don’t like, nor want to hear, so we don’t. We allow them to continue to wallow, all in the name of saving our own ass. It’s the coward’s way. I know because I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it.

As such, sharing hard truths with people is often as painful to send as it is to receive. But, how can a person expect to improve if they’re operating without the necessary knowledge of where they’re falling short? But this doesn’t have to be mean-spirited. In addition to delivering accurate and honest information intended to help, we also have a responsibility to deliver it in the proper way, at the proper time, for it to have the most impact. Most effective communication is as much about the “how” as it is about the “what”…

Stay tuned-in…


 

Thirty-Two

32

Do you give as much consideration to the reception of your communication as you do the sending of it?

Do you consider your wording (written or verbal) and its impact?

Do you consider your vocal tone (intended or unintended) and its impact?

Do you consider your intentional or unintentional body language communication and its impact?

Do you consider the timing of your communication and its impact?

Do you consider potential assumptions others are holding when in communication with them? Assumptions about you? Assumptions about the intention of your message?

Do you consider how your credibility is either enhanced or hurt with every single communication you send?

Do you care?

You should. 

If you don’t, then it’s good that you’re receiving this right now.

Read it again. And again, and again…

Stay tuned-in…