ImageCommunication skills are great, but do they always work? Not everyone responds the same way to your fancy techniques. Sometimes you need to take a step back and look at things.

"I have communication skills," you declare. Noone can withstand your techniques that you learned from books, or perhaps you learned on that weekend retreat you went to. Think again!

For each and every technique there is an equal an opposite counter-response. Plus there are people who see through your shallow attempts to change them. It only irritates them further that you try to "manipulate" them.

I knew a person who came back from a course where he learned to use the techniques of backtracking and clarifying to establish rapport with others. It was like he had a hammer and everyone else looked like a nail. He got limited results and probably did not understand why.

Techniques alone are not enough.

In Mash, do you remember what happens when they have incoming wounded? – They performed "Triage". That is, they divide the wounded into three groups.

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Here are three types of people you will come across.

  1. The YES person. They love you even if you do not use good communication.

  2. The MAYBE person. Here is where your skills can convert people to your cause.

  3. The NO CHANCE person. No amount of skills can change them.

Tell me, have you ever worked your skills against a type 3 person before? Communicated till you are blue in the face. How did it feel? Was it worth your effort?

Have you ever worked for a type 3 person? What was that like?

You need to perform triage first before you go into the communication skills stuff. Decide what type of person you are dealing with and decide where to spend your energy. Don’t wear yourself out. Spend your energy where it will make a difference.

Have fun out there.


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