Contact High

Contact High

It’s astounding to me how many opportunities we miss to make communication easier. And by communication, in this case, I’m talkin g about applications ranging from simple hi-how-do-you-do interactions to business deals getting done, or NOT getting done as it relates to communication. I’ve found that lots of times, it’s a problem of omissions and assumptions. Here are some situations, a common way people handle them, and then a way or ways to hack them into better interactions.


Situation: Meeting someone for the second time.
Common Interaction: “Hi, how are you doing?” (pause) “Great!”

What’s missing in the above is that by opening your second ever meeting with someone by saying, “Hi, how are you doing,” you’re not giving the other person context, in case they’ve forgotten your name. It assumes a lot. Further, if they HAVE forgotten your name, you’ve put them in a rough position.


Instead, try this: “Hi, Leon. Chris Brogan. It was great meeting you last week at the Network2 party.”

The response has everything. It shows you remember HIS name, tells who you are, and gives Leon context.


Situation: You’re at a conference, and there’s a Q&A.
Common Interaction: “Could you tell me about the RSS capabilities?”


You’ve submitted the basic question and that’s okay. But here are a few things you can do to improve it. Ask the person speaking BY NAME your question. Second, give your name and affiliation (briefly!), and then ask the question. Remember that there are more people in the room than you at a conference. Part of attending conferences is to build your contact list (did you know that?). Make it easier for others, and they’ll make it easier to connect afterwards.

Instead, try this: “Jenny, Chris Brogan from Network2. Can you tell me about the RSS capabilities?”


Situation: Chatter at a party
Common Interaction: “So, what do you do?”


It’s not a horrible question, but it’s also such an easy one to drop into a dead end. Think about your answer. “I run a liquor store.” Or whatever. It requires YOU to come back with a good probing question, like, “Oh, you must see some interesting characters there.” And that has a second chance to be a dead end. Try for something unique, but not TOO far out there.

Instead, try this: “What’s something you hope to do over the next year?”


The goal is simply to build better handles into both sides of all your communication interactions. If you help people communicate with you, they’ll ease the conversation, and the payoff will be better on all fronts.


So, what are some of YOUR conversation and contact tricks?

Chris Brogan is Community Developer at Network2. There’s a party in New York on the 15th if you want to meet him. Just drop him a line: chris at

More by this author

7 Uses for a Virtual Machine When Emailing Think Press Release Mail, BrainDump, Mail, Do Stretch Goals Matter You Had me at Insane

Trending in Communication

1 7 Ways To Deal With Negative People 2 How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward 3 What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships 4 How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence 5 This 4-Year Old Girl’s Explanation On the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions Is Everything You Need

Read Next


Last Updated on January 18, 2019

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

1. Limit the time you spend with them.

First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.


In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

2. Speak up for yourself.

Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.


But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

Why else would they be sharing this with you?


5. Change the subject.

When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.


You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

7. Leave them behind.

Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

Read Next