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.

WSU & Why I Founded the Stop The Drama! Campaign


Today I am going to answer a question I get asked very often – Why did I found the Stop The Drama! Campaign?  But first I need to say hello to my new friends out at Washington State University.  I had the wonderful opportunity to speak to their women’s basketball, tennis and crew teams recently.  What a great group of people.  On to the question – I was fortunate when I was doing my internship in grad school that I got to work part time doing sport psychology for a university and part time doing organizational development in the corporate world.  I noticed that the same problems were coming up in both places – poor communication, lack of conflict resolution, no leadership and teams that weren’t working well together.  And I was teaching them the same skills – effective communication, productive conflict, how to be a leader others will follow and great teamwork.  When I graduated I wanted to continue doing the same type of work but was unable to find a job that would let me. So I started my company Champion Performance Development ( and founded the Stop The Drama! Campaign because I believe those skills need to be provided to high school and college students, not just corporate executives.  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!

What is Productive Conflict?

Today’s question is from Jaime in Princeton New Jersey.  “I have been reading your book and learning a lot from it.  Could you talk about productive conflict?  It doesn’t seem like those two words go together.”  Productive conflict is understanding that conflict happens and when done correctly is a healthy part of any relationship/team.  Too often we wait until we are upset before we address a problem.  Being productive means we talk about a problem when it is small, explain what we need and why we need it, use active listening when hearing the other person’s side, reach/implement a solution and move on.  If you have a question you would like me to answer, send me an email at [email protected] or use the contact page on the website listed above.