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Home » How to Deal with Difficult People: Jay Johnson (Transcript)

How to Deal with Difficult People: Jay Johnson (Transcript)

Jay Johnson at TEDxLivoniaCCLibrary

Here is the full text and audio of communication trainer Jay Johnson’s talk titled “How to Deal with Difficult People” at TEDxLivoniaCCLibrary conference.

Listen to the MP3 Audio:


I want you to think of a time when maybe you were interacting with somebody who you felt was difficult.

As you’re sitting there and you’re talking to them, maybe getting into an argument, maybe the tensions are starting to rise, you can feel your palms starting to sweat. You can feel your breath starting to get shorter. You can feel yourself getting angry.

And at some point in time in that conversation, you decide: “I’ve had enough of this. It’s time for me to walk away.” You walk out.

You get about five steps this way and it hits you, and you’re like: “Oh, I should have said this. I would have totally got them.”

That is a product of our brains.

When we meet somebody, maybe for the first time and we shake their hands. We say: “Hello. How are you? My name is Jay. Nice to meet you.”

And something in the back of your mind is already hitting you and going: “I’m not going to like this person.”

Well, if you’ve experienced that, trust me you’re not alone.

Our brain is designed for survival. What Daniel Goleman calls the low-road is something where we look at… others call it the limbic system… our fear regulation, our fight-or-flight response.

When we deal with difficult people, ultimately what we’re doing is trying to get past that response. It’s a natural response that we have.

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