Learning and winning, By Kurt Larsson

Learning and winning, By Kurt Larsson

This may sound so evident that it verges on ridiculous, but there is a distinct difference between learning and winning.  How many times have you tried to change the behavior of someone you are close to only to wind up in a debate?

Even though the subject maybe as obvious as some:

–       tips to lose weight

–       healthier eating habits

–       suggestions to quit smoking

–       better study habits for your children

–       better phone techniques for your staff

You may often land in anywhere from heated discussion to a violent argument. Curiously, have you noticed that your opposition usually centers their arguments around why change is not necessary? In fact, there are those that would rather die than change and more often than not, they sometimes are very close to us.

I was completely inspired by the visionary of the On-line Education company that I represent who brought this phenomenal behavior up in a conversation about prospecting for leads. But as he also stated, this is an application that can be used throughout our lives. Whether you are leading others in the workplace or coaching others in sports or even helping your children with their homework, people do not like to be wrong. Do you?

Some have taken it to an art form and seem to be trapped in an infinite do-loop to prove they are right, even to their own demise. One could say that they have morphed into ”master-debaters”.  This can cause great frustration as you see them withering away stuck in some principle they wish to defend. Unfortunately, there are some that will not budge, yet be sure that all are listening on some level and to call yourself a leader or even just an effective communicator it becomes your responsibility to find that level. Or, at least have some fun trying. In any event, it will be up to you, your level of professionalism and your ability to respond to create some movement in your listener or at least resist being sucked into the cesspool of another meaningless debate. For even if you win that debate have you changed their opinion?
Chances are they will just go away and reload new arguments and return for another round.

Fist HandIt may be interesting to note that again the ultimate source of this behavior is at a cellular level where each individual cell in our body has only two absolute states to choose from: Growth or Protection. Growth is open for new information and energy and Protection is closed for survival until the threat passes. Yet as evolved creatures, most of us understand or at least have heard that we can change states at our choosing. A good metaphor for this would be these two hands and how they are shaped. Which one is relaxed and ready to accept something to grow and which is stressed to defend itself?


So how do you affect change even when there is no listening?
Even though it can feel absolutely hopeless to try, we usually want to at least feel heard by such a person. Therefore, how can we approach this kind of personality without getting totally frustrated and drained in the process? Below are a few tips:

Talk to the person’s higher self
Referring again to my inspirational colleague in the on-line training business. You have to focus on the listener’s higher self. This stance encourages you to be looking at them from where you want them to be in the discussion rather than being frustrated with where they currently are. The best definition of a coach I have ever heard is from my training at CoachU ”someone who believes in the team more than they believe in themselves”. In this situation some pro-bono and unsolicited coaching would be suggested if only to keep you consciously grounded and in service rather than on the attack or defense.

Listen and Serve
One of the leading reasons why people will not listen to you is that they feel that no one is willing to listen to them. Before you can suggest anything you will be required to listen in a way that that they can feel heard, understood and encourages them to trust you. The best way to begin this process is serve up some appropriate questions and listen with all your senses to the ENTIRE answer. There is nothing more aggravating and disrespectful to your listener than you stepping on ther answer before he/she even completes it. Continue serving by acknowledging what you just heard and confirming that it is correct. This is as simple as ”If I understand you/it correctly you want…”.

Become and remain detached from the outcome
The more you can be OK with no progress the more space you create for the opposite. If you get attached to the outcome your listener will sense it and probably lever this into an argument trapping you in the process.
Keep your distance.

Be willing to be wrong
The Chinese have an ancient proverb, ”Whatever you think it is, it’s not”. What if your listener actually does have a point? The more you can be open from this and be prepared to learn from it, the more listening they will have for you going forward. Again, if you are not willing to listen, why should they? No one likes to be judged, but what are you doing even if you have the best intentions, if you refuse to entertain their truth in what they are saying?

Have fun with it
The more you can keep the conversation light and bouyant  the better chance you have of loosening up a cold or frozen stand point. Sometimes it can take forever for that ice to melt. Warm, harmless jokes will help pass the time.

The more chances you have to engage these types of people the better you will become at dealing effectively with them. That’s why cold calling is such extremely good training. That is if you learn to use both your head and heart in the process. Unfortunately with such focus on performance there is little room for service in the tele-sales business and then the only thing you get good at is driving right over weaker personalities and making that sale. Keep this up and it is an effective way to become a successful sociopath. You will earn some good money up front, but what will it end up costing you in the long run?

The more you can distinguish learners from winners the easier it will be to use the correct soft skill tools to deal with them. Both types of people. For more information on how to integrate this into your organization either on-line or in person, please click on those words for further information.

Copyright Kurt Larsson 2013

About The Author


I am fascinated with what makes us humans ”tick”, especially when it comes to how we consciously communicate and express ourselves with our body language. My business background is in international sales and sales management, selling everything from automobile tires in Houston, Tx, to retail banking delivery systems in 20 countries. I have graduated from CoachU’s 3 year Coach Training program, been certified as an Extended DISC consultant and become a Certified International Body Harmony Teacher with over 20 years of ”hands-on” experience in bodywork. This rich and varied background combined with over 20 years of being an entrepreneur has blessed me with insights and experiences I never would have noticed in the corporate world. Mainstream business now seems to be waking up to the riches available from more conscious and responsible business practices. Expanding Understanding’s Sensational Soft Skills Toolbox , the books I have written and training I have developed now provide savvy decision makers and their colleagues measurable results and a more restful night's sleep. These tools provide an edge in consciously understanding, deliberately using and profiting from the most powerful communication tool available, our bodies. I look forward to meeting you on this path to mastery in non verbal communication.

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