How To Deal With People You Cant Stand-Dr-Rick-Brinkman-background

How to Deal with People You Can’t Stand with Dr. Rick Brinkman Soar Above Success #5

SAS #5: Rick Brinkman dives into a very controversial topic on how to deal with people who really bother you. Learn the techniques and strategies that experts use to make the best of every situation!

The Lens of Understanding

What you will learn in this podcast:

  • The difference between personality types and behavior types
  • The Lens of Understanding
  • The collaboration zone, the danger zone, cooperation zone, caution zone,  and control zone
  • Capacity for Human Multi-tasking
  • Learn about the different areas of people’s motivation
  • Learn about Tanks, Grenades, Meddlers, Whiners, Nothings, Judges, Know-It-Alls and Snipers 
  • How to tolerate intolerable situations
  • How to effectively manage people’s behavior and be a Conscious Communicator
  • How to write and respond to emails effectively

Important Links:

Yury: Hey Everybody, this is Yury with the Soar Above Success Podcast. I have a very special guest with me today, his name is Dr. Rick Brinkman.

Dr. Rick Brinkman has been in “public practice” since 1980, touring nationally and abroad performing keynotes and trainings in 18 countries.

He is the coauthor of 5 McGraw Hill Books, including the international bestseller, dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to bring out the Best in People at Their Worst, has sold over 2,000,000 copies and has been translated into 25 languages.

He’s also the coauthor of, dealing with Relatives, Bringing Out the Best in Family, and Life by Design, Bringing Out the Best in Yourself, and Love Thy Customer.

His clients have included: The Astronauts at NASA, Lucas Film, The Department of Defense, Sony Pictures, Adobe, Wells Fargo, Lockheed Martin and many others. He has been a featured guest on CNN and is a frequent communication expert for publications such as the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Oprah Magazine, and USA Today. Rick, welcome to the show. I’m very happy for you to be here, I’m very excited for you to be here on the Soar Above Success Podcast.

Rick: It’s good to be here, and its synchronicity that you mentioned those publications because we were just cleaning out shelf and we found the Cosmopolitan from a number of years ago, where I was the Bitch Tip of the Month.

Yury: and what was the Bitch Tip of the Month?

Rick: The Bitch Tip was about when somebody is standing too close to you, like in a line, breathing down your neck. I say you want to sneeze into your arm, wipe your nose, then turn around and go “boy this swine flu is a bitch.”

Yury: That’s awesome! So you actually wrote that piece for the cosmopolitan?

Rick: Yeah, they called me. I’ve done some other things for them.

Yury: I’m sure that was a pleasure to write. Wow, what a great experience. Especially when you’re going back through everything you’ve done and looking at all your work. I’m sure it was very uplifting to pull something like that up.

Rick: It’s been fun how this topic of people you can’t stand. It’s so universal. I guess the world can’t stand each other, I guess that’s why we have so many languages and that’s the bad news.   

Yury: well, It’s good and bad

Rick: it seems to be a universal issue, it crosses all cultures, country boundaries, genders, etc., generations too.    

Yury: Yeah, it seems like it’s a human quality, and it doesn’t matter where they are in the world. It’s a universal truth, sort of like emotions. You can’t stop them, and there are a lot of universal signals that happen that triggers certain behaviors in people.

I have your book right here Rick, and this is an excellent read for anyone who hasn’t checked this book out or has somebody they absolutely can’t stand, this book is for you. It really helps you in understanding people’s psychology, and helping you deal with those situations where you otherwise wouldn’t have a clue how to approach it. Now, I know you’ve written a ton of material Rick and you’ve been on multiple shows, and you’ve been around the world. Today I want to discuss the dealing with people you can’t stand book. What was your inspiration for it? Why did you write it?

Rick: Well, my co-author and partner at the time, we were working together and couldn’t stand each other. So we decided to write a book about it. There is a truth to that and not. What happened- long story short.

Were naturopathic physicians, holistically trained.

Our course diverted, it initially went to study communication so we could be more effective at influencing our patients. What happened was, we got the tools to be natural counselors, and because we were taught to look at the whole picture we started digging deeper into people’s lives. I remember I had this woman who had arthritis. She tried everything, nothing really worked. What do I have to lose, I’ll try to pry into her life.

Although prior friend’s prior health professionals. I find out her husband works for the government, flying back and forth from Washington DC each week. She hated that job 20 years. Hasn’t expressed it, wants to support him. He was supposed to take an early retirement, and decided against that. She suppressed that to. When minor upsets would occur she wouldn’t deal with it. They only had two days a week together, and she would suppress that. Now, if you suppress too much for someone you care about, it’s going to build up a barrier.

So my prescription to her was to teach her how to share your upset without the other person feeling like you’re attached. When she did this 30 day later, symptoms were gone, and they stayed gone. I got what is known in the business as major case of Trout mouth. When you look like this. Next thing I know, I’m doing more and more counselling, communication seminars. Long story short, 30 years later its 4,000 programs 18 countries.

Yury: So that one situation sparked and that was the inspiration for this whole sequence of events that occurred right after that. I know you really dive deep into these personality types and the types of people you encounter on a daily basis.

Can you briefly go over some of those personality types? I know you mention there are 13 in the book, you don’t have to go over all of them, but give us an example of what some of them are.

Rick: First of all, there is a very important distinction if you want to be successful with people is let go of the idea of personality and personality types, and think more in terms of behavior. Here is the difference. Behavior is fluid, constantly changing. One minute a person is normal then they blow up and have a tantrum, then they withdraw and they are quiet, then they are normal, then there winning, then there’s something else.

They change according to these two factors. Context- where are we, what’s going on, and relationship- who are we with? You can know somebody who seems to be a bully most of the time at work, you wouldn’t believe how much a wimp they turn into in a different context, or in a different relationship.

My wife will tell you she has to come to a seminar to hear me speak, because in most social situations I’ll be a nothing person. And this is true, those people with children Your child comes back from the neighbors, and the neighbor says how polite and helpful they are– what my child?

Different context, different relationship, different behaviors. Here’s the thing, we as human beings can only pay attention to 7 give or take 2 things at any one time consciously. Be aware of what I just said, what you think about it, and how it feels to sit there, temperature in the room, the sounds around you.

If we hear CRASH- there goes our attention it drops out, it’s like a spotlight. We have a part of our brainstem our reticular activating system, and one of its functions is radar. So if you get married, you see everyone getting married.

If you have children, it looks like a baby boom. If you’re interested in a certain car, there it goes again. We’ve all had that experience. If I think somebody’s personality’s negative…. There they are again… told you so, I knew nothing would work. I could give you the strategy for negativity, you could implement it and you could be having quite an impact. Half the time the person is not negative, but you won’t even notice it and that’s the key.

We as human beings are programed to selectivity sort our perceptions to be right about whatever we believe in the first place. We don’t want to be right that people are difficult, we want to really be right about being able to influence their behavior.

Personality is way too big of a generalization to be functional and useful. It would be how everybody is in every situation and every relationship in their entire life.

So, behavior. It might be a subtle difference to your viewers and listeners think behavior, it’s a big first step.        

Yury: That makes a lot of sense, because we’re always trying to classify personality types and fit them into this paradigm and it doesn’t always work. You could be identified as a certain type on a model for example the DISC model or a different type of personality test, it assesses you and gives you this certain kind of criteria.

This is who you are, this is what you do. Yeah, but not all the time, there are always those exceptions to the rule. You don’t always behave in what’s in line with your personality type. In addition to that, not all situations bring out that personality type, and you might even outgrow that piece. I definitely hear what you’re saying in that it’s better to focus on behavior.              

Rick: yeah, what are you dealing with right now.

Yury: Exactly, and how can you adapt to those situations and pivot in order to make it work. In the book you discuss something called a “lens of understanding” this is a key piece to understanding the rest of these behavior types. What is the lens of understanding?

Rick: If you imagine a circle with a green zone, we call that the collaboration zone. We have four basic intents: we went to get things done, we want to get things done right, we want to get along with people, and we want to get appreciated by people.

Now, put yourself in your own shoes. Have you ever needed to get something done? Of course, what happens when people want to get things done is they are going to focus on the tasks at hands. They are more task focused, they will push forward and become more assertive. That’s what makes it happen, task focused and assertiveness.

On the other hand, it’s important to get it right and if you want to get it right, you have to slow it down to make sure the details get covered even though you’re still task focused. When anything you’re working on at any point in time is balanced to achieve.

It’s important to get along with people, well if we want to get along with people we tend to be people focused in that moment because that’s who were getting along with. We tend to get a little less assertive because we put our own needs aside to make the others happy.

This is what you observe when people go to lunch, you want to go to lunch? Sure, where would you like to go? Oh, I don’t know where would you like to go?  I don’t know, are you hungry? I don’t know are you?

How can we not know if we’re hungry, we can figure this out! What’s happening there is we’re putting our own needs aside to please somebody, it’s part of getting along. If people are in an appreciated mode, then they will still be more assertive. They are going to put themselves out more, contribute.

You ever been to this place for lunch? I know a great place; everybody let’s go now! All these intents, getting it done, getting it right, getting along, getting appreciated, it’s all part of us. But, depending where we are, and who were with, one of them can become more important than the other. If we have a big deadline maybe all of a sudden you’re not as friendly with your spouse because you have to really focus.

Think of it like clothing, if it’s raining you put on something, if it’s sunny you put on something else. It’s like that with people, so that is the cooperation zone. The next zone out is the caution zone.

This is when people are not getting what they need. Let’s say I need to get something done, so I go to some of my team members and I find they use the balloon strategy of time management. When you move forward on a project like this (deflating balloon noise), so, I’m going to go OK people here is what has to happen, I am going to in and control, this is what needs to happen.

I am going to become more assertive and controlling. If I’m focused on getting it right, and ask for information and they tell me it’s about 50 we think. About you think!  Then I’m going into those details, since no one else is paying attention- perfection. If we want to get along, we want to make sure everything is okay between us. If we want appreciation and it’s not happening, we will go to attention, and do things to get people to notice.

That yellow zone, with the caution zone is not automatically a problem, however, sometimes the yellow zone is the solution. Somebody takes control, and takes charge of the meeting, things actually get done and move forward. Somebody covers the details, but if people really get stressed out, then we get into the danger zone. That’s where the 13 behaviors you mentioned happen.

Yury: Interesting, so there is a lot to consider here. We’re not just talking about what’s going on in here- in our own mind.

Were also talking about external influences, and we have to consider our goals. What are we trying to accomplish with this individual, and how might they react, how might they push back. Depending on our circumstances at the time, it may change the way we react to that situation.

I definitely here what you’re saying because I’ve been in those spots where I’m trying to either get something done, and I’ll comply with whatever it is that person is saying and there are other times I’ll push back and it’s not in line with my agenda.

That’s definitely a key point of understanding in how to deal with these types of people. One of my favorite examples in here is the Tank and the Grenade. For no particular reason, I just think the terms are really fun. Now, Rick can you briefly explain what is a Tank, what is a Grenade?

Rick: Why don’t we go around the lens; we can do a walk on the wild side. We will start out in the get it done quadrant, because they don’t have time to waste. If things are out of control, and I’m perceiving your part of an obstacle or taking tangents all of a sudden I can become a Tank. “I can’t believe I’m standing here; you must be a genetic mistake! We were working on this for eternity, four weeks behind now! Here’s what we’re going to do parliament is up, I’m in control, any questions? Good.”

They have radar looking for people (radar noise). They find someone BOOM (gun noise) they can rip you apart personally, and the biggest irony, it’s nothing personal. And it’s not, your just in the way of an end result, so you have to be eliminated. A Tank attack is basically a declaration of martial law.

Control to produce action, to make something happen. But control has other expressions, especially when things get suppressed. What if I resent you about something, what if you got the promotion I think I should have got?  

No problem, we’re in a meeting, you stand in front of your peers and I say something like “hey, Yury, I’ve got a great idea… let’s play horse. I’ll be the head; you just be yourself. Oh don’t get all emotional, can’t you take a joke.”

That’s snipping, it can be to your face, it can be behind your back. I’m not getting mad I’m getting even.

If you add a bunch of ego and knowledge to that recipe to that get it done control zone, then you get know it all behavior. “I know 99%, I’m happy to tell you how much I know for hours on end, dominate meetings, go on and on and on. Of course I’ll never listen to your clearly inferior ideas.

Now, if you compare Know-It-All to Tank, a Know-It-All is nowhere as tasked focused. Somebody who has become a Tank, is not going to waste a minute to impress us, because they don’t care what we think or feel, which is why they are so ruthless. They want to make it happen yesterday. When people go Know-It-All on you, now you have ego you’re dealing with also, so they are going to waste all this time telling how much they know.

The problem is, and this is the defining characteristic, just because someone knows a lot doesn’t mean they are a know-it-all. It’s the unwillingness to hear what others have to say. Let’s shift mental gears, let’s go to the Get-It-Right character lens. From there I can see perfection, I can see what is, I look at what could be. What is cannot measure up to what could be, and then I start to feel helpless about it, and that’s how winning starts. Now, when people start a whine-o-meter it just sounds like “boo, there’s a problem, pick it up and put it in my bag.

Boo, oh there’s another one put it in the bag, and another one, put it in the bag. It’s so heavy, I can’t take it. So, I come to you,” When people are winning they basically feel helpless, they are feeling the victim of the situation/circumstances.

It could be they feel disempowered in relation to others. Or, ironically, they are doing it to themselves because they have this high standard of perfection that can’t be met. That’s what creates the helplessness. Now negativity is similar, it’s like a first cousin but it’s different. Where winning is helpless, negativity is hopeless. They are going to say “forget it, we tried it, nothing ever changes.

Every silver cloud has a dark lining.” You try to suggest an idea they go “pull- Boom (gun noise) got that idea.” It’s got the arrogance of a Know-It-All, seduced but they dark side of the force. A Know-It-All will tell you what they think, and how it should be, but the negative person says nothing’s going to work- I give up.

Yury: What’s the point

Rick: yeah, exactly. Other people in the face of that will just go fine, do it your way. Don’t come crying to me when it doesn’t work out. Now that’s nothing. You hear me say nothing, but from a different motivation because a desire to get along if you don’t have anything nice to say. I wouldn’t want to hurt your feelings, I wouldn’t want you to be mad at me, so I say…

Yury: Nothing

Rick: Exactly. If you want something from me, I also want something from you, your approval. So I say ok sure, I am happy to do that, ok no problem, oh yeah I can take that on. Now I’m sort of over committed, and things don’t get done.

If I’m faced with a decision that can hurt somebody’s feelings, I’ll say let me think about it, ask me later, or maybe that’s my final decision. I’m sure everybody has told the salesperson that they will think about it. You’re not going to think about it, what you’re doing is you don’t want to hurt their feelings because you’re in the get along area of lens at that moment. Shifting mental gears again, now we’re in the Get Attention “No you can’t, if I end the world today, I don’t want to bother, it’s the government’s fault!” You notice me, I’m tough to miss. That’s your Grenade, it’s the tantrum.

The difference between a Tank and a Grenade is a Tank should be in jail and a Grenade should be institutionalized. It’s actually a level of intent, a Tank means to do it. A Tank means to take aim but they leave other useful people standing. Where a Grenade blows up in 360 degrees, and you hear all this stuff that is really nothing to do with the present circumstances. A Tank attack is really a demand for action, where’s a Grenade tantrum is a demand for attention.

With a Tank, ultimately we’re going to move forward fast. A forward motion that will escalate the attack, something is happening. With a Grenade it’s totally opposite. We have to stop everything and just put out the fire. What you will also get out of the attention area is another kind of snipper this is a friendly fire. This is people who like you so they say “Hey I don’t forget a face, but in your case I’ll make an exception. Just kidding, I heard you lost your last job due to illness of fatigue.

They got sick and tired of you.” It’s a friendly type of humor, it’s friendly gossip, it’s teasing, it’s all of that. It’s not intending to hurt anybody, but sometimes can have some inadvertent side effects that are not positive. Last but not least you get Think-They-Know-It-All behavior. That’s when they think they know it all but really don’t. When words come out of my mouth, they come back in both my ears and I think this must be true, I heard it twice.     

Yury: Or you heard it on the internet somewhere so that has to be true, right?

Rick: Absolutely. These are the 10 original behaviors we identified. Then we wrote a book, which is still out there “Dealing with Relatives” we found 8 behaviors our relatives exhibited. They had corollaries for example if someone is the general of a family, they are somewhat like the Tank.

Someone being the rebel is somewhat equivalent to the Grenade. Someone being a nothing person, is a mystery person. There were three that stuck out that were beyond relatives, so we added them to this third edition. One is the Judge; the Judge is coming out of the get it right perfection.

They are nit-picking, they are looking at the details. Where winning and negativity has gone to the generalization everything is wrong, nothing’s right. The Judge is focused into the minutia in a negative fashion and judging.

Then you get right in the center of the lens where Get-It-Right meets Get-It-Done, on the assertive side you get a combination of the Judge with the Tank, you get a Meddler. The Meddler has the judgement, but then the aggressiveness, they are going to do something about it. They know you don’t know what you’re doing but I’m going to help you dress, or whatever, they are Meddling. They have that combination. Right at the bottom of the lens, where Get-Along meets Get-Appreciated on the more people side, you get the Martyr.

“Oh, I do everything for everybody.” It’s somewhat like Yes Behavior but, it’s needier then Yes Behavior. They are doing things but they really need that appreciation in return.

Yury: That is a crash course in basically every type of behavior. You go through the book and Rick, when you’re going through this. And I’m sure anyone listening is also doing this you’re either saying “Am I like that, did I ever do that to somebody else?” We can all recall certain situations where we embody each one of these behaviors.

It’s not something to be ashamed of, it’s part of being a human that we all have to deal with these types of situations. It’s also curious because as you are going through these I have people popping up into my head. Like oh yah, I know who that is, oh oh I know this one too,

Oh the Grenade, oh man. Or the Sniper, uhh, I know a Meddler too. These behaviors are not persistent; you can change them. You don’t have to be stuck in one way.

If you’re constantly judging something, you just need to tweak your mindset. You’re not stuck, that is something I really want to stress. You’re not stuck in one of these behavior modes, and you’re not stuck in participating in one of these actions that you don’t necessarily approve of or want to be a part of, you don’t have to be that.         

Rick: Or you can help people, you can be a donation of change. Here is what I think the most important thing is. To become what I call a Conscious Communicator. A Conscious Communicator is paying attention with case affect relationships between what you do and what you get.

The deck is stacked in your favor, because, when it comes to communication you already know how to communicate. And you have zillionth opportunities every day to practice and observe. If you stay conscious and then debrief yourself about each interaction both good and bad. What have I tired with that person, what will I try next time?  Do that little internal debrief, and imagine yourself doing it next time you are setting yourself up on this momentum of exponential growth. Like everything you learn it becomes automatic and unconscious. Suddenly you’re handling the Tank without even thinking about it.     

Yury: That is a beautiful way to negotiate in a business meeting. I’ve noticed after doing rounds of negotiations with clients or speaking with other individual’s multiple times. Most of the time the individual has no idea what’s happening, most of the time they are on autopilot. If your conscious and you’re aware of what their triggers are, their behavior is, and how they are reacting to what you’re saying, and debriefing yourself afterward. The next time you meet, you’ll be able to influence them so much more.

Not in a bad way, you will negotiate to a ground that’s fair, where both parties get elevated. As opposed to somebody smashing somebody else’s ego, or damaging somebody else.           

Rick: Definitely, you’re also going to prevent them because you’re going to start seeing things that you haven’t noticed before. You realize this person is really get it done, and I’m giving them every detail. I probably should try telling the bottom line up front, and asking them how much they want to know.

Even begin the conversation with how much time do you have? In fact, I just had a patient tell me about her Know-It-All boss, and she is more Get-It-Done and minimalist. She tells her people how to do it, and trusts them they know how to do it, when people tell her it’s done, she doesn’t need to dig, and trusts its done.

Her boss is Know-It-All and get it right, so I suggested she reports a lot more detail than she normally would and ideally use some sort of visual. It can be a flipchart, a piece of paper, or whatever, because the difference between auditory communication and visual. Auditory exists the moment you say it, and then it’s gone.

If we put up this coaster here, it stays here, a little bit later it’s still there. You can also see multiple factors; this is why we say I can see the big picture. Because you’re seeing all the factors. So she tried that with her boss and she couldn’t believe what a positive response. It was the first time they didn’t have a little Grrr with each other.          

Yury: That was an excellent growling impression I must say. That’s absolutely right, if you just pivot and you know how modify. You’re the one that has to be responsible for these behaviors, you’re the one that has to maintain the upper hand in all of that. It gives you that extra edge of control, because then you’re able to move the situation to a very comfortable spot. You no longer have to be aggressive, and every interaction moving forward is positive. I love how you put it with the mindset, it’s sort of eh. If you’re a negative person everything is negative, but not because everything is actually negative.

There is a lot of positivity out there, it’s just that you’re perceiving everything out there as negative. Therefore, how can it be anything else if that’s what you’re perceiving. It’s a beautiful way to put it. Now, Rick, since we’re on that note. Changing that mindset and modifying your ability to perceive and identify a situation, what are some ways and strategies that we shift our attitude to become better communicators, better negotiators, or better business people?

Rick: I’d say first of all you have to realize the limited amount of tension and you want to get your attention and focus on communication. You already got to do it, and you have a zillion opportunities every day to practice.

The world is your laboratory, so you want to stay conscious. Second principle, there’s feedback no failure. There is no such thing as a failure in communication. All communication works. It may be working perfectly to produce the result you do not want, but it’s perfectly working to do that. You have to observe.

True story, a long time ago a friend of mine was picked up by another friend who drove a Peugeot

Automobile. Driver jumps out of the car, they stop at 7-11 and says I’ll be back in a minute. 5 minutes goes by, he gets sick of waiting, now in a Peugeot when the button is up, the door is locked. When the button is down, the door is open.

It’s a little French humor to trap people in their cars. Maybe that’s why Peugeot’s are no longer sold in America, because we ain’t stupid. He does what anyone would do without knowing. He wants to get out, tic, tic, tic…. Maybe it’s stuck tic, tic, tic… tic tic tic, tic tic tic, alright this door is broken. I’ll try the driver’s side.  Four doors ten minutes later, still in the car.

Now, he knows what he wants, but he’s not paying attention. If what you’re doing is not working, you have a guarantee. It’s not working, anything else you do increases the likelihood of a success.

Personally when I’m stuck in a situation and I don’t know what to do, I ask myself alright what’s that last thing I really want to do right now. What occurs to me and I can’t believe I did it, but it forces me to unlock it and move forward. That makes perfect sense, it’s the last thing you want to do, so it’s something you have not done so it’s stuck with that person. Remember you have limited attention, there is no such thing as failure.

It’s feedback not failure. You always want to pay attention, and in every communication you should have a goal. What do I want right now, what’s my goal in this particular situation? What’s working and what’s not working?  

That’s the cycle of paying attention, and then constantly be flexible. Know what you want, pay attention, and be flexible.

Those three general principles, and recognizing that people have limited amount of attention. That way when they are fixated on something and they are not seeing what you see is obvious then you won’t think they are crazy, and go god I don’t need this, instead you will go okay their attention is over here.

I just have to move it to the part I already know. Something else you said about the pre-play. How you hear a song and it takes you back, you didn’t do that on purpose but you know enough about it to use it on purpose.

Let’s say we’re about to leave the house, we go to the refrigerator to grab something to eat and we go oh my cell phone is in the bedroom. So we go to the bedroom to get our, you know what to do.

You do back to the refrigerator and Cell Phone! Minds will be minds, were always making associations. The moment you touched that handle and thought about the phone, a link was made between the two. Which is not permanent, what makes a link really Permanente is reputation.

So the song plays over and over and over again. So consider this, when we have an uncomfortable interaction with another person. Our minds will show us reruns of oh I said that, I felt bad I did that.  

What we’re doing is basically creating an association and the next time we see that person we will feel bad more quickly because we have been practicing in our spare time. Minds will be minds and you cannot let them repeat how it was, because then you’re stuck in the past.

What you have to do is think, Ok, what do I want next time I see this person. Then go back to that situation and imagine doing that something different.

Like giving the detail to the boss, or starting out with how much time do you have for this conversation. Whatever it is play it out, then the next time you are in the situation, you’re more likely to do it. This will be true for everything, let’s say you don’t want to react to something.

There is a button you have when people say that certain thing. You decide what do I really need you can get that from the world around you. I had a patient who needed to be more assertive when her boss was yelling. She couldn’t be assertive anywhere in life, so I asked her who in real life would be more assertive, and she goes Catharine Heparin, she’d show him.

So I had her close her eyes, imagine being Catharine Heparin, how she’d feel, how she’d think, how she’d view the world, and practice being Catharine Heparin internally. Then imagine being with your boss and saying that, and you’re being Catharine Heparin. We would replay this a few times, I gave her the assignment to keep doing it.

The first week she was 20% more comfortable and assertive. The next week it was 30, 40, and a couple of months later, boss could yell no problem. It didn’t bother her. You want to use your mind on purpose, that is a very important thing. There is a strategy for all 13 of those behaviors, but first you need to think “what’s the inner attitude I really need?” If someone says you must be a twin, no one person could be that stupid, and I go oh yeah, maybe you should sue your brains for non-support?

Now we just have two snipers going back. I might need to imagine the person saying that, and I am just calm and relaxed.

The ideal when dealing with Snipers is innocent and carious. You say huh, what do you mean by that. Like there is nothing going on, you want to give them the innocent look, and you’re putting the spotlight on them.

We can go into any of the strategies if you want. To answer your question, the biggest principle. No there is limited amount of tension, always notice feedback, never failure, you have to know what you want, pay attention, be flexible, and do that mental rehearsal. At that level you’ll exponentially improve, you can’t help it.   

Yury: You’re absolutely right on that. With the mental rehearsal, I’ve actually been implementing a lot of this in my own life. Especially when I’m going into meetings, you actually psych yourself up.

By the time I go to a meeting, I’ve already gone to that meeting at least five times in my mind. I already found my conclusion, figured out all my avenues, all the points, all the different negative areas I could have encountered during this whole presentation. Most of the time it doesn’t occur, most of the situations I create and fabricate in my own mind don’t even happen.

The fact that I’m ready for them, and ready to absorb that impact. Alright, let’s go and focus over there, instead of dealing with this situation here. The person I am meeting with never even thought to go through this. They are just on auto-pilot they just get in there and sit down. It’s all about the end goal, and the mindset. There was a movie they made into a book a while ago, I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, The Secret. How to manifest anything, all your desires.    

Rick: I haven’t read it, but I am familiar with the principles.

Yury: That’s basically what we’re discussing here, but on a deeply psychological level. This is way more scientific than that. That was just I’m going to think about it and I’m going to be rich tomorrow.

Just get paychecks right? In some ways if you start visualizing we all know as entrepreneurs, as people we business, we all know visual representation of objects is pretty close to the actual physical representation of that object. The mental and the physical are closely tied. We could visualize anything we like and the result is right there, it somehow manifests. All it takes is shifting our perception and shifting our mindset. These are all impressive and great ways and strategies to leverage when you’re dealing with these types of people. Rick, this is excellent information. If you don’t mind can we go into what your favorite behavior is, and how you deal with it?

Rick: The Nothing person, since I am such a good Nothing person I can relate to Nothing. That was one thing with my daughter, I remember one time coming back from a seminar. My wife says “you’re the communication expert, you deal with her.”

Background we had 4 Siamese cats, they had 3 cat boxes, they were quite a production facility. I always was the one who took care of it, but if I am gone on extended road trips, someone has to pick up the slack so to speak.

My daughter is supposed to do this and she hasn’t done it, she resists doing it. We get home, we’re home 15 minutes and my wife goes “well, have you talked to her yet?”

Now at the time, it was a Friday night, my daughter was about 14 ½, was in her room with a couple of other teenage friends. When I looked at that context, I just had this funny intuition, this might not be the best moment to discuss cat boxes. I might run into some unnecessary resistance.

That’s an important thing with Nothing people, you want to wait for the right moment. Nothing withdraws from all intensity. If you’re emotionally intense, all you’re going to do is push that person into nothing.

Nothing isn’t just this, it becomes this, nothing withdraws. The other thing is even if you’re not emotionally intense, but you’re just questioning too quickly or have a deadline, so you don’t have enough time it’s going to automatically cause you to be a bit more tense, and they withdraw from Nothing.

You have to wait for the right moment. The next day things are just waking up, Saturday, I walk into my daughter’s room and I sit down and I say, to what she says, to what I say, to what she says “what do you think you’re doing here?” and I say “nothing, I don’t know. I’ve been gone all week, I haven’t seen you I saw you were up and thought oh she’s my daughter maybe I should see her.”  

This is the sound of Nothing people blending. Which is establishing report, you don’t want to underestimate the importance of that. You have to slow down to their level. Now, slowly the conversation starts to form. My daughter is realizing that the conversation from me is going da dum, da dum, da dum.

Then she goes right for it “I know I didn’t do the cat box, but I can’t stand to do it. I don’t see how you can stand to do it.” I thought ohhh that seems like a good opening. I said “first of all, look at their it for them. Or you know what I do sometimes? I just pretend it’s 1849, and I’m panning for gold. Whoooeeee I hit the mother load!”

Yury: You can’t sell this gold unfortunately.

Rick: I never thought about it that way, but now that you do, I’ll save it all for you. Sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn’t. The idea is, you have to slow down, come into rapport with them. You ask open ended questions that cannot be answered with a yes or a grunt. If they say I don’t know, you say guess, make something up, if you did know what would it be? Try that, go on a crowded elevator.

Pick out a stranger, and go, they tell you all sorts of funny things. I’m kidding about the elevator but I’m not kidding about the look. We all have an expected look that naturally follows a question. You want to turn up the dial another 15% on your expectant look and pause. You can say guess make something up you didn’t know what would it be? It’s amazing 9/10 people will go I guess da da da da and they will just tell you.

That was always an easy behavior for me to deal with because I understand Nothing from the inside out. When you mention earlier that we all do these in different places, I was thinking yeah and that’s a real advantage because when you understand it inside out, you know what that person needs in that moment. The ones that are more challenging, and I’d say the most challenging one for me was the Grenade.

The tantrum, because though I might be Nothing in a more personal relationship. I would be very much Get It Don’t Control in a business relationship. When you are taking a Grenade in a business relationship, they are throwing things out of control and nothing draws from intensity. My two strongest areas made the Grenade the arch nemesis.

What I realized with an adult Grenade is I can go “I don’t need to deal with this, they should know better, c’mon they are acting like a child.” Then I realized as a young child, I didn’t have a problem Grenade behavior. I always took it as ok, I’m going to see what’s possible here, I’m going to get them to learn, try to avoid this in the future. So I did the internal visualization imagining over and over again. Taking how I am and how I feel as the child, and transferring it to the adult.

Then it was a breakthrough. It wasn’t that tough to deal with.    


Yury: You literally, brought them down to a level. You broke it down to a level of understanding of that of a child.

‘Effectively for all intents and purposes a tantrum is a behavior of a child. It’s repressed emotions that somebody hasn’t dealt with, or has no other ways to deal with these behaviors. They were never taught; they have no outlet.

You can’t blame them for it, they were raised this way, it’s how they were raised their whole life. It’s been “working” their whole life, so they continue on that path. If you imagine and shift your perception and say “hey, you’re just behaving like a child.”  Deal with it like that, and all of a sudden your gifted with the situation is completely resolved.

I love how you’re approaching it. In every situation, there is a way out, there is always a way to side step and get your way, or find a mutual ground, an understanding from both parties. The challenge that I find with a lot of my communication, and I’m sure everyone is dealing with this now.

Especially, in the era of online chats, online emails, communicating without actually communicating. How does one deal with communication through an email? Sometimes I get emails that I interpret as aggressive, but I’m not really sure. Maybe they are just missing syllables or something, I don’t know what the deal is there. Sometimes I can almost feel the elation though the email.

Other times you have nothing to work off, it’s the blandest email you ever read. It’s like reading a terms and conditions statement on somebody’s business. How do we get better at understanding emails?

Rick: We have to go back to in time to 1967 where professor Albert Mehrabian did and experiment. He makes a film of people communicating. He then takes the sound track off the film and runs it through a synthesizer. Making the works incomprehensible. The speed is still intact.

He then has a transcript of what was actually said. He gathers a group of people and shows them the film. The soundtrack has no words, just images. Then he hands out the transcript, let’s people read it. He lets people think this is 3 different interactions.

That’s a business meeting, those people are angry, they are obviously good friends. They were shocked to learn it’s all the same interaction. He says what do you believe is really going on.

Based on their responses he concluded that 55 % of interactions we base on how that looks to us. 38% is based on how that sounds to us, and 7% are based on the words that are actually spoken. This is what I call the 55,38, and 7. Now, we have expressions “seeing is believing” – 55%, “actions speak louder than words” – 55%. The percentages don’t mean that one is more important than the other. What they refer to is what will happen when there is a mixed message.

For example, we’ve all been a customer, has someone ever had a customer serving you and they go “have a nice day.” Now, do you think they care about your day? No, the way it sounds does not match. When there is a mismatch we believe the higher number. More often than not, the mismatch tends to come between how it sounds and what gets said. Usually how it sounds goes along with how it looks.

In the exceptions somebody is doing it on purpose. “Oh no, fine, do it your way.” Like sarcasm that kind of thing. More naturally those two are together.

The important part of how it sounds, the 38% that is tone of voice. The tone can make people take it personally whether it’s about them or not. We could be feeling something that has nothing to do with the person we’re interacting with. So naturally we suppress that.

Our conscious mind will pick the concepts we want to get across to each other, that are encoded in this simple system we call language. How we feel can leak out a little bit though our tone. All of a sudden people are ignoring your words and only responding to the tone. When it comes to rock, paper, scissor, words, tone.

Tone crushes words, and they are non-existent. Let’s go to an email or any kind of writing situation. Now I find this fascinating because I have been teaching communication for 30 years.

I was in the pre email era, and I had to adopt at the beginning, but we have been writing to each other for hundreds of years, but we didn’t have all the confusion until the digital age. Let’s look at what’s going on, let’s be conscious communicators here.

In any room communication we don’t get how it looks- 55%, we don’t have how it sounds-38%, it’s just a bunch of words on a page or a screen. What that allows us to do is hallucinate freely! It’s how we think the other person sounds when they say it.

Our hallucinations will be based on our stress level, our blood sugar, everything we’ve got going on at that moment. Now, whenever you lose channels of communication like that you’re losing a lot of important information, but you’re always getting something in return. What you get in return in written communication is time is on your side. It is not an interactive meeting.

This doesn’t exactly explain the difference in the digital age, and the old age. Come with me to a time of yesteryear when the earth was still cooling, and we had to write with a typewriter. So here is the drill, (typewriter noise) I don’t think this piece of paper is straight. Hold on, straighten it out, ok (typewriter noise) neh that’s no good. Ok put another piece of paper in there, straighten it out (typewriter noise) you already did two emails in this amount of time. Correct correct, too many corrections, there is so much time in the process, that one of two things is going to happen.

One is we might not bother it’s way too much work, so were more likely to get interactive. Secondly so much time would pass we would arrive at other points in our blood sugar curve. We would read, we would reread, we would be thinking about it. But in comes the digital age, and part of the seduction seems to be quick and easy. We have a lot of volume to deal with so we tend to get into get it done get it done get it done area of the lens, were just dealing with it. We read quickly, we write quickly, we edit sparingly- misunderstanding.

That’s what’s going on, you have to always remind yourself that I am hallucinating freely. I don’t know how this person sounds, I am making it up. I may be right, I may be part right, I may be totally wrong, but it is my hallucination.

That’s what you have to start with, then from there you have to make a decision. Should this communication continue in this format, or should it go to a different format. My advice to everybody on when to bail on email, these are Rick’s rules for when to bail on email. Number 1, if you suspect emotional content in your head.

If you think they are having a strong reaction to something, or you’re having a strong reaction you’re hallucinating about. Pull the ripcord and save yourself so much time and trouble.

Secondly, if you write something and you have a little bit of a concern on how they might take it. Definitely take that as a sign to pull the ripcord and bail on email. Both of those are the two major ones to think of.

Now, if you stay in writing you know time is on my side, I should not respond immediately. I had a book proposal I put in recently to a major publisher. When my editor left recently, I was in an in between state from the publisher and the assistant editor.

They gave me a list of 10 questions to answer they wanted with the proposal which became 51 pages of marketing and so forth. Along the way they started to ask me questions, but everything they asked me was already in the proposal.

Finally, I got another question, do you have a speaking schedule and numbers and I’m like page 35-38. If has my speaking schedule for the next few months, how many people are in the audience, in that case I didn’t want to answer. So I decided to give myself 24 hours to figure out how can I tell the person to read the proposal in a positive manner. And I did, and it all worked out for the best.

So always remember time is on your side, and you want to take that time to really think of it. Then there are some other things you can do. Have you ever re-read an email the next day? All of a sudden there are sentences in that email that were not there the day before.        

Yury: Exactly, totally different perception.    

Rick: Exactly, that’s because email elf’s sneak into the night, and add to the email itself. No, it’s because we read something and we trigger will go off, but we keep reading unconsciously. You have to compensate for that. In yourself it’s read it out loud, then you won’t miss anything. In your reader what you want to do is much more spacing.

Don’t follow the rules of a normal grammar paragraph. Anytime a thought changes, skip a line. If I ever have three sentences in a row, I always have to suspect the third sentence will be obscure from the thoughts generated by the first two. So more spacing.

The very first line in the email should be a statement of intent, what’s the purpose. Now this is a humongous one.

This is one of those things if you pay attention to speaking your intent you save yourself a lot of trouble. You always know it’s time for intent if you don’t want people to misunderstand what’s coming. What I would see a lot with couples, let’s say your intent is positive. Let’s say one person is upset, they want to clear the air, so they go to their partner but they don’t speak their intent.

They just say “you know I was upset the other day when you said da da da da because” before they get any farther their partner gets a sound in their mind like this (alarm sound) we are under attack; this is not a drill. If we speak intent we say “I love you, I care about you. There is something that blocked our communication, I’d like to clear the air.”

Now they know where you’re coming from. Home is not where you go when you’re tired of being nice to people. Anytime you don’t want people to misunderstand. The first line of an email is a statement of intent- what do you want from this person. In my publishing example I’m like I’m happy to give you whatever you want and need.

That was the statement of intent. I’m attaching this proposal because on page 35-38 you have a complete breakdown. That’s what I mean by statement of intent. More paragraph spacing, and I would suggest also before you hit send, read it out loud to yourself. What you want to listen for is secondary messages in your tone.

Let’s say someone suggests an idea to me at work. I think it’s a great idea, but we have to talk to the Union about that.

When I read that message, and I hear myself say yeah that’s a great idea, but I have to talk to the Union about that. If I hear that level of tone, (buzzer noise) not good. In that case you have to be more specific in your writing.

In fact, this is why it’s so easy for humor to backfire, because a lot of times humor is the difference between what you say and how you say it. You can’t expect people to hear it in the tone in which you mean it.

Yury: Sarcasm transmitted through virtual means rarely works. I’ve done a couple of examples where I’ve said sarcastic remarks to friends, or sometimes even clients and it’s totally backfired.

I was like oh wow that is not at all what I meant. Your like moons away, but the way they interpreted it was really negative. It totally ruined the relationship, you have to get on a call and I’m like look, forget it, I tried to hit the undo button before I sent it but it didn’t work!     

Rick: Ambiguity is not going to work. I’ve had text messages where somebody says something, and my response because I know I’m hallucinating is are you insulting me?     

Yury: Right, what are you trying to say?

Rick, that is beautiful, what a great point. All the time this happens on a daily basis where you’ll get an email and your all frazzled at the moment. You’re reading it going what does this person want, why are they emailing me right now, what do they want blahhh. Then you’re dealing with this internal battle, it’s me, it’s not them. They are just asking me a question. I think I’m guilty of this in some of our communication even.

Unfortunately, if you’re really stressed out, you’re in a bad spot, whatever it is, you’re interpreting it based on what your feeling. Not based on what that person is asking you, you’re not even reading it, it’s just ahh they are emailing me again, what do they want. What I’ve started to do, and this has been a world of difference. I’ll walk away, I’ll literally walk away, go for a walk, meditate on what this person said. And ask myself is it reasonable, is it in line with what they want, and what we’ve discussed?

This just happened to me the other day. I was working on a proposal with a client, and it was maybe 40 emails. It was ridiculously long, 40 emails back and forth. For a week we were going on this, we got on a call and discussed this and that.

He sent me a laundry list of proposals and things that he wants included in the contract. Finally, I’m at a point, where I just had to walk away from it. I was so overwhelmed with him. I came back, re-read the email, and realized this is exactly what we discussed over the phone. He’s not asking anything different than anything I told him I’d already offer him. It was identical to what we discussed so I had no problem doing this now.

The first time he sent it and I read it, I was so pissed off. The second time I read it I was like oh, no big deal. I put it in the contract and he signed and delivered. It was perfect, now we’re in an agreement and everything is good to go.

I think this has to do with what you mentioned, the convenience of digital communication. This happens a lot with Skype, or text messaging, because it’s so fast. You get in the zone and you’re just emotionally triggered.

Especially with Skype this happens a lot where you’re going back and forth with somebody. You can’t walk away because it’s almost like having a face to face conversation, you can’t just walk away from them.          

Rick: You can switch to another form. You can say let’s turn on video.    

Yury: That’s exactly right.

What I’ve been implementing is just picking up the phone and call them. Why deal with this? You also will get more done over the phone, or a video chat like what we’re doing now. You will get more done. You will actually be able to see the tone; you’ll see the expressions. Rick, I’m so mad at you right now.

No, you’ll get every detail and you’re exactly right with that. You have to get to a channel that is more in line with being human.

You can’t communicate virtually without communicating on any level really. It’s just a poor way of communicating. It’s good for getting platonic messages across, or tasks across.          

Rick: Facts. It’s not for discussing or clarifying.

Yury: Not for emotional discussions, or things that are going to be heated.

Rick: that’s for sure

Yury: you’re going to miss out on a lot. Great insight their Rick, I could not agree more. This is something we can all implement on our daily routine. Get an email, they are not expecting a response right away. You don’t have to respond.

We wrote an article a couple weeks ago, on why you need to avoid your email during the day, period. Look at it once in the morning, once at night, and let yourself reflect on those messages before you respond. If you notice most business professionals, a lot of CEOs, company owners, or people who are very busy. You won’t get a response for weeks.

The reason is not only are they busy, but they are taking time to think about what it is you’re saying or offering to them.

Definitely agree with you there, thank you so much for that insight. Now, Rick, were getting close to time here. If you could give us one rule of thumb, big take away, the ultimate truth if you will in communicating effectively or dealing with people you can’t deal with anymore.

Rick: I think the ultimate truth is something where we started. It’s know what you want, pay attention, be flexible. One thing you want is to turn the world into your laboratory, and keep paying attention.

Know there is no failure, just feedback. Take responsibility for your mind, use your mind on purpose. If we let it go, it’s like a garden hose, we turn on the water and it’s just flopping around. If you grab the house at the end, you can water the garden and grow what you want. You can grow the behaviors and attitudes you want in your mind. The bottom line is you’re going to be doing it anyway.

You’re not going to stop, you want to make sure if you’re doing it, it’s taking you in the direction you want, which is evolving and not being stuck in the past. So, know what you want, pay attention, be flexible, keep evolving, feedback not failure, use your mind on purpose.     

Yury: Great excellent insight. I think everyone can take a lesson from that. Rick if we want to learn a little bit more about your books, your courses, your website, you, where can we find this information?

Rick: The first thing to consider for yourself is how am I as a learner, what do I like? For some people it’s a book, for others it’s an audio, for me personally I love audios so I consume them like crazy. Or do you like interaction and video?  

There is the book “dealing with people you can’t stand.” On my website, I’m sure you’ll put links here.

There’s the audio- full day seminar, we cover all the behaviors and all the strategies in detail as well as meetings and email in much more then we were able to cover today. That’s for our audio listeners, and then if you want video and interaction there’s the Conscious Communication University.

It’s an online course with 14 classes, each one takes about 30 minutes, it’s about 7 hours of video training altogether.

In each class there are 4 parts. Part 1 is Live Dr. Rick, where I will do a live program talking about winning, going over the strategy of winning.

Then you go to Coach Rick, which is a two-minute video telling you the mental muscles your developing by dealing with this behavior, that there is something in it for you. Attitudinally dealing like with a Sniper you develop Tergum Lentos – thick skin.

You learn how to let things bounce off of you, that’s what they are teaching you. From there you go to the lab and there is a bunch of professors like Professor the disembodied floating head, and he has his grad assistants- Lefty and Righty. There is also Professor McFly who is a fly on the wall who reminds you to pay attention through communication. They usually set up a skit.

In the case of Winning, professor McFly will take you to the north pole where you will see how Santa is dealing with his Winning head elf Pinky.

He gets him to stop thinking everything is wrong and gets him to start problem solving. From there it’s time to play the Conscious Communication game show where you can test your knowledge with fun questions and answers.

An example is “The two factors that affect your communication most are: 1. alcohol and poor judgement, 2. When you choose truth or dare, 3. Context and relationships. The questions are comical on purpose, with all sorts of voice overs with the audience reactions. The idea is to walk you through the learning points and how you get it. The feedback has been tremendous; people have been enjoying it.

I recommend people take it in a partnership, I even give a discount for two people together. What you do is you download your notes and there are assignments, things to pay attention to, things to try. You want to get together with your communication partner once a week. Commit to doing a few classes, and discuss what you noticed this week. And that’s it, what did you notice.

This is what my co-author and I did that changed everything. We met once a week for an hour- what did you notice this week, what did you try, what worked, what didn’t work, what are you going to do new next week with that person?

You have that debrief and then your expeditionary being a better communicator. You’re also making a difference. Every time you take somebody out of that red zone. You’re not only doing yourself a favor, you’re doing them a favor, they were all stressed out, and you’re doing a favor for everybody downstream who would have encountered them.

Frankly, the world is just one red zone reaction after another, with a microcosm county, which is a reflection of the microcosm of what we do right here with the people we can’t stand. Pieces are collected and it’s all of our responsibility. So go out there and be a Conscious Communicator.              

Yury: Yup, absolutely. Thank you so much Rick! We will put all the links in the WPSoar website.

You’ll be able to check out all of Rick’s work there. Rick thank you so much for being here with us today. It has been an absolute pleasure.

I’ve learned a tremendous amount, and will recommend this podcast for all my friends and family. They absolutely need to listen to this, these are things that people need to hear! With that, that’s Rick Brinkman for you everybody, thank you so much for being here and hopefully we can see you again next time.

Rick: Thank you          


Yury Vilk


Yury is a web entrepreneur, owner and founder of WP Soar. His expertise is in WordPress, Internet Marketing, and PPC. He has been working on the web since 2006 helping businesses achieve their online goals.