You've spent time and energy preparing and holding an important conversation. You developed a useful purpose, acknowledged your conversation partner, and framed your message with skill. But, in spite of your best efforts, the situation does not improve: a direct report continues to be disrespectful; an important member of the team persists in showing up late or not at all; your teens room remains a mess.

1. It may take time - and more than one attempt at communication - for change to take place. Don't expect your partner to have your skill or level of awareness. You may need to try other methods of communicating.

2. Remember to connect your message to your partner's goals. You cannot motivate people. They are already motivated – by something. How does what you're asking for relate to what this person wants? Connect your message with their motivators.

3. Stay interested. Even as you assert yourself, remain curious. You can ask, "Why isn't he getting this?" with judgment and contempt, or with fascination. Continue to look at each situation with new eyes. Be careful not to judge too quickly.

4. Center yourself and extend positive energy. I teach and practice aikido, a martial art that redirects the opponent through non-resistant leading. In aikido, we center and extend our life energy (ki) to meet the attacker and redirect him. In life and business, you do the same thing when your language and manner are poised, when you exercise power and compassion, and when you lead without force.

5. You may not get your point across, ever. But you can remain respectful, interested, and on point. You can also employ your company's performance management system as early in the process as possible and hold your staff accountable to its guidelines, making sure a problem employee understands the consequences of the road he is traveling.

At home, if getting your point across with your teen means gaining agreement, you will almost never succeed. However, you can set limits and expectations. For example, "I hear you when you say your friends stay out until midnight. Nevertheless, your curfew is 11:00." …

"But, Mom! …"

"I realize this seems harsh to you. But I expect you to be home by 11:00."

Establishing limits and consequences is often a more practical way to be heard than requiring agreement or understanding.

Winning a contest and solving a problem are usually two different things. When you find yourself up against resistance, stop and ask whether it's the winning or the solving you're most interested in.

Author's Bio: 

Judy Ringer is the author of Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict ( and the award-winning e-zine, Ki Moments, containing stories and practices on turning life's challenges into life teachers. Judy is a black belt in aikido and nationally known presenter, specializing in unique workshops on conflict, communication, and creating a positive work environment. She is the founder of Power & Presence Training and chief instructor of Portsmouth Aikido, Portsmouth, NH, USA. To sign up for more free tips and articles like these, visit