Winning Conversations with Difficult People by Letting the Other Guy Win

Sep 8, 2021


Whether it’s around COVID, vaccinations, whether to wear a mask or not, there are a whole host of conversations going on that are dividing colleagues, friends, even family. It was this surge of tough conversations that led Dr. Sharon Spano to host a recent workshop on Winning Conversations with Difficult People. Today she reflects on this workshop and some of the questions that arose in response to it.

Dr. Spano starts by recapping some of the contents of the workshop, discussing who these difficult people are, when we are the difficult individual, and how we can exacerbate situations based on our own inabilities to be effective communicators. She spoke about the kinds of difficult people we attract, the patterns that form in our lives, and what this says about the actual story that you might be carrying.

Dr. Spano also talks about the strategy of letting the other guy win and how one of her workshop attendees didn’t agree with her on this subject. As part of the Conscious Community segment of this podcast, which aims to bring you different perspectives and other ways to think about the concepts we address, today Dr. Spano presents a solocast where she attempts to address his concerns. Tune in to hear what she means by being willing to let the other guy win, her own experience of a difficult conversation where she did this, and if this may be the solution to how you approach some of the tough conversations you may be faced with.

What you’ll learn about in this episode:

  • Thoughts on the current commonness of hard conversations that are dividing people.
  • A definition of difficult people.
  • Thoughts on the individual stories that we carry and the kinds of people that we attract.
  • Why you should be aware of your style in terms of body language, tone of voice, eye contact, and the pacing of information.
  • The language toolbox that Dr. Spano has developed with useful sentence structures.
  • Thoughts on first-person perspective and how some people are not able to put themselves in the shoes of others.
  • How to know if you’re the person who only has a first-person perspective.
  • Why you should be aware of your own style and the value of recording a conversation with a difficult person.
  • The difference between aggressive and assertive communication and how gender ties into this.
  • Why you should ask yourself, “What is my intention in this conversation?”
  • What assertive communication is not.
  • The strategy of being willing to let the other guy win.
  • The question that came up in response to this strategy.
  • The story of how Dr. Spano applied this strategy to an encounter she had with a difficult person.
  • The importance of knowing who you can influence and when to walk away or stay silent.
  • What more you can expect from The Alchemy of Humans Facebook group.

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