The Secret to Making Your Point without Being Aggressive

There is a single solution that will keep your discussions from turning into win-lose face-offs: Make the other person feel their contribution is understood and respected.  If you are purposeful about it, making it happen isn’t hard.  Here are the foundational points you will need:

Listen first! – If you are thinking about what you want to say or that the other person is just wrong, you aren’t really listening to what they have to say.  It doesn’t matter how much you disagree or how wrong you think they are, don’t let your emotions run away with you.  Take notes on what they are saying if you need help staying focused.

Create a no interruption norm – If there was a transcript made of the conversation would there be hyphens or periods at the end of each person speaking.  If you listen without interrupting you have a leg to stand on when you request that someone not interrupt you.

Make it clear you understand – Start your rebuttal (for lack of a better word) by saying “I understand your key points are….  I have concerns about….”  Making it clear you understand but disagree will help keep the other person from interrupting you to repeat themselves (Particularly if they are the type of person who thinks if you don’t agree with them you must not have heard them and says the same thing, only louder.)

Request to be heard – Keeping your cool when someone is trying to escalate a discussion into an argument is challenging.  It is also the one thing that will keep the conversation from spiraling into a stalemate.  Calmly use statements that point out the direction the conversation is going without accusing.  “I’m getting the feeling you don’t want to hear my thoughts.”  “Nate (using their name makes it personal), I’d like to finish my point so all the information is on the table for a productive conversation… (Continue your thought).

Show that you are on the same side – “I know we are both passionate about reaching the best solution.  In that spirit, I’d like to continue my point (Don’t wait for permission.  If the floor was yours, keep going.)

End the conversation – This is a bold and last ditch move that is very powerful.  “Sue (yes, use their name again), if we aren’t here to share and listen to differing opinions in order to make the best choice there is no reason for us to continue this conversation.  I understand where you are coming from and disagree.  If you would like to hear my ideas on how I believe we can make a better decision, let’s set up time to talk about it again later.”

It is IMPORTANT that you are never demeaning, patronizing or rude throughout this exchange.  The point is not to insult or demoralize the other person; quite the opposite.  The point is to have your voice heard and have a meaningful exchange.  The entire foundation of creating productive conflict is listening to and understanding the other person.  Doing that first gives you the power to confidently request it in return.

If you have a question you would like Doc Robyn to answer, leave a comment or email here at [email protected]

Wishing you the most from your potential!




How to Generate Productive Team Discussion

Getting your team to talk to each other and discuss how to be a more cohesive, successful team can be a challenge.  I recently received an email from a coach who, along with other coaches and some of their athletic administration, is reading “Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams”.  Their goal is to generate meaningful conversation.  In the email she asked me what questions I thought they should ask each other.  There are two ideas I shared with her I wanted to pass along to you.


One – When I share a tip or idea it is common for people to think “I know someone who can use that!”  Instead of jumping to other people who need help, think about how you might apply the idea in your own life.  Being able to understand and apply the idea yourself is the first step to being able to explain it and help others.


Two – Try to come up with real examples where effective communication or conflict resolution didn’t happen and talk about how it might have turned out differently if a specific tip was used.  It is always easier to think about something tangible (that really happened) rather than in the abstract.  Just be careful not to point fingers or cast blame during the discussion process.


If you are using my book to create meaningful conversation on your team, I would love to hear about it.  Email me at [email protected].  And if you have a question you are encouraged to email me as well.


Thank you for watching my video.  I look forward to seeing you again in the future and I wish you the MOST from your potential.

Note from a Coach

I really enjoyed your presentation at the end of November at the NFCA convention.  Just yesterday I did a presentation to our staff on the convention.  Your session was one I highlighted in my presentation as I felt the information applied to coaches of all sports.

After the presentation, the staff decided they would like to order some more copies of your book and have guided book group discussions.  Just wanted to thank you again for your presentation and helping coaches of female teams (such as us) better understand how to effectively lead our young women.

Head Softball Coach
College of Saint Benedict

Doc Robyn’s Top Tip for Increasing Mental Toughness

Lately I have been following #MentalToughness on Twitter and have been very disappointed with what I have been seeing.  Athletes and even coaches talking about running until they make themselves sick or getting up in the middle of the night to take an ice bath.  Anything you do physically will not increase your mental toughness.  It may show that you have it, or break you if you don’t but it won’t change it.  Increasing your mental toughness is about changing how your mind works in stressful situations and where your focus is.  When I give presentations on this subject one of the skills I teach is the difference between evaluation and performance.  Evaluation is looking backwards to determine how something went and how it might be improved or repeated.  Performance is about looking forward and actually doing something.  Your brain can only do one at a time.  However, how often have you thought in the middle of a game “that was dumb; I wonder if coach is going to pull me out of the game” or “that was great; I wonder if I can do that again”?  Those are evaluation thoughts.  To perform at your peak you need to being thinking exclusively about what you need to do in the next 10 seconds.

I hope you find that tips on increasing your mental toughness helpful.  If you have a question or a topic you would like me to address, feel free to email me at [email protected], comment below or use the contact us page.  I look forward to seeing you in future videos and I wish you the most from your potential.

Totally a side note – how can it be that in all three thumbnails for this week’s video my eyes were closed?!?!



Jealousy: The Ugly, Green Eyed Monster

Jealousy is something many coaches see on their teams.  However, a lot of emotions are labeled jealousy that aren’t.  When an athlete believes they work just as hard (or harder) and are just as talented (or more talented) than someone else and the other person is given more playing time or the starting spot an athlete will be disappointed or frustrated.  Jealousy occurs when someone thinks they deserve something that they haven’t worked for.  For example, I might be jealous of Bill Gates’ money.  I haven’t put in the investment of time, energy, blood, sweat and tears that he has to earn the money he has.

If you have an athlete who is legitimately jealous, sit down with her and outline what she needs to do to deserve more playing time or that starting spot.  It is extremely important that you are honest about the possibility of her achieving what she wants.  It might be, no matter how hard she tries she won’t get there (I could give 100% to trying to play in the NFL – not going to happen).  Setting appropriate expectations will go a long way to easing jealousy.

I hope you find that tip helpful.  If you have a question you would like me to answer, leave a comment below or email me at [email protected].

Thanks for watching and I wish you the most from your potential!

Know When to Take an Emotional Timeout


Today Doc Robyn finishes up the video series on the Seven No-Fail Secrets to Stop The Drama! with the final secret, Know when to call an emotional timeout and use it.  All too often as a conversation turns into a confrontation and things began a downward spiral it feels like there is nothing we can do about it.  As soon as you realize a conversation is becoming harmful instead of helpful, take a timeout.  Let the other person know you would like to continue talking about the issue but right now you are not in a place to do so productively.  Set a time to have another discussion after you have cooled off.  That might mean in two hours or two days.  Take time to walk around the block and get yourself back to a level headed place.  This will help you not say things you will later regret.


Let me know in the comments if you found that tip helpful.  If you would like to have a copy of all seven secrets you can download them from the bottom of the home page.  If you have a question you’d like me to answer on my video blog, you can send me an email at [email protected].


I look forward to seeing you in future videos and I wish you the most from your potential!

Create Team Vocabulary – No-Fail Secrets Series 6 of 7

Hi! I’m Doc Robyn, founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign.  Today I am continuing the conversation about the Seven No-Fail Secrets to Stop The Drama!  You can download your copy of all seven secrets from the bottom of the home page.

Today we are talking about the sixth secret “Create and use a team vocabulary”.  The words we use convey only 10% of our meaning.  The other 90% is made up of what the listener infers from the situation and the body language. The word ‘respect’ is one that often means different things to different people.  I worked with a team with an athlete who would yell ‘FOCUS’ during games.  She wasn’t trying to suggest her teammates weren’t focused or to be rude.  She was trying to encourage her teammates to play to their full potential.  Unfortunately, that isn’t what her teammates heard.  Take the time to have a conversation with your team about what specific words mean in specific situations. It will help eliminate misunderstandings and reduce team drama.

I hope you found that tip helpful.  I look forward to seeing you in future videos and I wish you the MOST from your potential.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer, email me at [email protected]


Ask Before Providing Feedback No-Fail Secrets series 5 of 7

Today I am continuing the conversation we have been having about the Seven No-Fail Secrets to Stop The Drama!  Today’s secret is ‘Ask before providing feedback’.  Giving useful feedback is a great way to help a teammate become better.  However, it is not something you should just blindside them with whenever you think of it.  Instead, check in with them to determine if it is a good time.  Saying things like “I’d like to offer you some feedback” or “Can I share a suggesting with you” will give them a split second to prepare themselves.  And if it isn’t a good time, they can let you know when it would be better.   It is also important to think about what is going on around you.  Giving feedback in the locker room or on the field/court with other teammate around can create an embarrassing or defensive situation.  “Constructive criticism” is a private matter meant to help an individual be better.  There is no need to share it with the whole team.


I hope you found that tip helpful.  If you have a question you would like me to answer, email me at [email protected].


I look forward to seeing you in future videos and I wish you the most from your potential.

Making a difference, one speaking engagement at a time

You really did such an outstanding job last night! You seem to have hit your stride, and your comedic flair for inciting people to laugh at our flaws is ideal for a world that all too often takes itself too seriously. I think your mission is to improve the micro-worlds we live in–sports teams, at home, at work–one drama queen at a time!

Thank you so much for your support of this organization! (Professional Women’s Group – Dress for Success Morris County)

Danielle Adams
Business Solutions Officer
Affinity Federal Credit Union

Assume the Positive – No-Fail Secrets series 4 of 7

Today’s secret is ‘assume the positive’.  It is really easy for us to make up and assume negative things about people.  “She’s out to get me.” “He is stupid.” “My coach doesn’t like me.”  As I often explain when I give keynote talks, most often people aren’t out to get you even if it feels that way.  When we go to talk to someone with a negative assumption they are likely to become defensive pretty quickly.  If we can make up something positive instead, “My coach is trying to make me a better player”, or at least neutral, “I wonder what is going on”, we are more likely to have a conversation than a confrontation.

If you have a question you would like me to answer you can email me at [email protected], use the contact page, send me a tweet @DocRobyn or message me on Facebook.

I look forward to seeing you again in future videos and I wish you the most from your potential