014 (Sometimes) Face The Problem By Not Facing The Person

(Sometimes) Face The Problem By Not Facing The Person

Dealing with an alpha personality in a vulnerable situation, body language can help a lot. And how you design the setting can make "safer" body language easier.

In this podcast episode we discuss a story of a young woman serving as a new CEO, while the organization retained the founding CEO and scientific lead.

I had been working with her on influence and leadership skills - public speaking, rapport, persuasion, and persuasion. Now she needed help. With a super small tweak, the old CEO's entire response and subsequent behavior changed.

Same difficult conversation. Just a different setup.

The popular "literature" out there (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc) oftentimes says, "Lean in." They say, "Make direct eye contact."

Well, guess what? That doesn't always apply. For sure, most of the time, those things are great advice, but not all the time. And so we always need to have this little caveat where you adjust for context

Eye contact may not be the best path forward... Meaning you have to be judicious about it. Haven't you ever seen movies where 2 men are having a vulnerable, open discussion? They're not looking at each other.

They're looking at a game on the sidelines. They're watching a football game on TV and they're and they're having this conversation. They're on a porch or they're by a lake or by a river, fishing, golfing, or they're out playing whatever sport, and they're having this conversation while they're not making eye contact.

Coffee shops are great for this. Why? Because if you pick a seat along the wall, you can both lean back on your chair and sort of put your arm up and not face each other for part of the time and face each other part of the time. And it's a non-threatening stance.

But when your shoulders are square, you're leaning in and your eyes are right in. That can be experienced as threatening, depending on who it is and what the context is.

Make It Safe

In this case, a walking meeting changed everything for her.

If you have a walking meeting, first of all, you're not facing each other by definition. You can also choose the setting. It can be along the water, it can be in a path through a park with trees and birds chirping.


The point here is sometimes you face it by not facing. You face the problem by not facing the person.

(1) Context is Everything

It really matters when you apply this. This doesn't apply to all situations. Try this specifically when you have an alpha personality who is being challenged or who is being vulnerable.

(2) Be Natural

Whenever you face the problem by facing away from the person, it MUST be natural.

Appearing distracted or as if you're avoiding eye contact will destroy rapport and that will essentially disrupt the entire thing.

(3) Look To A Better Future

Use the fact that you're looking away as if you're looking out into the future. Get there. Focus on that future state. Now is not the time to focus on all of the stuff leading up to this point, especially if someone is vulnerable. Get them to a better place.

If you do want to learn how to change everything in a single, powerful moment, here's a free (& quick) micro-course: https://www.drtori.com/offers/ukqSTL77 

Who needs to hear what you just heard? Go ahead and share it with them right now. The Influence Every Day podcast is free. We don't sell advertising space, so telling others is the best way to pay us back. But more importantly, it's the best way to pay it forward. If you enjoy today's podcast, take a moment to rate and review the show. Then check out the additional links and materials that go along with it. They offer more ways to take your influence, your impact, and your relationships to a whole new level. Now go forth and influence for good. Every day.

[ If you’re a busy professional who wants to have incredible success at work and at home (without neglecting those who matter most), then check out The Influence Playbook at https://www.influenceplaybookmonthly.com ]


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.