Messages from the Masters
Adult to Adult by Bob Burg

Half the challenge to dealing successfully with difficult people is to keep our heads, or wits, about us during the transaction. Our being right and their being wrong won't get us anywhere if we can't get that person to see our view in a way that benefits him or her as well. What if he is acting defensively, or she is talking down to us? Let's look at a possible reason.

I first learned about this through the book, I'm Okay, You're Okay. The author, Dr. Thomas Harris, points out that each of us takes on one of three personality traits or characteristics during every conversation or interaction.

These traits, or states are: the Parent, the Adult and the Child. Whichever state we assume is dependent upon what we are feeling at any specific moment. The following is simply my interpretation of these three states and how they relate to WINNING WITHOUT INTIMIDATION.

The CHILD in all of us perceives themselves as the victim. He or she feels like a baby, put down, blamed, punished, controlled.  As a result, that person is angry and looks to get even...with the person who assumes the role of the Parent.

The PARENT in all of us is usually a victim of our own biases - well-meaning, just not recognizing negative communication. Not realizing they're putting somebody down. Not realizing they're making the other person feel badly about themselves.

The ADULT in all of us - which is the ideal - is the positive negotiator, the communicator, the respectful, honest, active listener, who's trustworthy and just...somebody who's easy to love, respect, and feel good about.

There are combinations of all three of those states within any relationship or transaction between two people. Someone criticizes, condemns or otherwise talks down to you. They are the Parent and you are the Child. In that situation, know it's not personal (as difficult as that may be). But first you have to bring yourself up to the Adult level in order to even put yourself in the position to WIN WITHOUT INTIMIDATION. At the same time, make sure you don't come across as the Parent talking down to the other, putting them in the position of the Child. That could cause a negative reaction.

Ideally, you want every transaction with another person to be on the level of Adult to Adult. Easy?  No. Possible? Absolutely - with awareness, practice and work. It's very important to keep in mind the human factor: You can't expect others to act like you do just because you know what you're doing and are in the state of mind to do it.  Don't feel put down if that person doesn't respond "correctly."

It takes time and effort, but you can do it. The rich results are worth it. The best way to overcome any frustration you might feel is to make a game out of it.  As you become more proficient at bringing about an ADULT to ADULT transaction where both of you are WINNING WITHOUT INTIMIDATION, you'll be absolutely amazed at the fun you'll have, and the stress you'll lose.  I'm excited for you already!

Bob Burg

Bob Burg is author of "Winning Without Intimidation" and "Endless Referrals." To receive 20% off on Bob's products visit or call 877-929-0439.

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International