Be Heard Speak Up Ep 01 – 3 Reactive Ways that People respond during difficult conversations

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3 Ways People Respond During Difficult Conversations

Welcome to Be Heard and Speak Up Weekly Podcast. Introducing your host Lee Stemm International Coach, Counsellor, and Training with over 21 years of experience. In this podcast, you will find some easy tips to guide and support you around having those difficult conversations that need to be spoken. To take back your power and speak up with confidence leaves you feeling a sense of freedom and empowerment. Whether you are in a business, career, or simply looking for personal growth, being a powerful communicator and taking back your power will open doors for new opportunities and more meaningful life.

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Has this happened to you?

 Welcome to my very first podcast episode, “Be Heard Speak Up,” and I am excited to be speaking to you today. In this podcast, I will be discussing why I decided to speak about topics that empower women to speak up and be heard during difficult times in their work, business, or personal lives. I will also be introducing myself to you and telling you a bit about my back story. As I know, you are probably wondering who I am. I will also be including 3 ways people react to conflict during those important conversations. You will be able to quickly identify these, and in your next conversation, you will know exactly how the other person will respond. As you know, we are all predictable, and when you start to notice behavioral patterns in others, it allows you to prepare in advance. 

I remembered the day I left my corporate job and stepped into my coaching and training business back in 2001 as though it was yesterday. Being in a male-dominated government department, I felt excluded and ignored simply because I was a woman. And it was tough not speaking up and remaining silent even when others disrespected me. I was an awkward child and felt like I never really fitted in, and I came from a strict family where children were seen and not heard. So I had been raised to remain quiet and to protect myself, I would fade into the background, hoping that nobody would notice me, which I thought would avoid conflict,

That didn’t work, as the bullies would always seek me out and try to push my buttons so I would react. They knew exactly what to do to derail me during those important team meetings, which left me feeling angry, frustrated, and emotionally exhausted. It got to the point that one day I just decided to leave, and I was an emotional mess at the time. It was the turning point for me to start my coaching and training business. Looking back today, it was the best thing that happened to me, as today I have the pleasure and freedom to do what I love doing, empowering women to reach their full potential. To 100% believe in themselves and be the confident action-taker who leads their communities, teams, and family.

I studied at the Australian College of Psychology and gained my diploma in Counselling and Communication, then coaching came to Australia in 2002, and I became a life coach holding the qualifications of master coach, trainer, and facilitator. This was when I started to step into my power, which nobody can take away from you, and you have 100% control of.  Opportunities were presented to me as a business owner, and I became the Head Coach for a couple of coaching schools and a co-facilitator where I was involved in the transformation of women who attended 3-day intensive retreats, who walked into the retreat lost and looking for help and walking out feeling empowered as they went through their transformation. And that is the most rewarding experience as a coach, seeing those you have guided take action and step into their power.

And that is exactly what this podcast is all about. I will be giving you practical tips and strategies to handle those difficult conversations and assist you in creating your transformation that creates long-term change. Combining the right approach with the right strategy will leave you feeling confident and willing to stop tolerating bad behavior from others. It will free you up to focus on creating a future that gives you more meaning and joy every day.  

Imagine going to work or being in your business that you become unstoppable, and you become the person who inspires and uplifts others. And you can show up fully communicating with confidence and adding value that builds strong relationships based on trust and respect. 

Here are the 3 Ways People will Respond During a Difficult Conversation

Number  1

Defending their Actions

They will try a defend their actions and make excuses as to why it happened, and may even bring into the picture to defend themselves examples of others who have done similar behavior. Often talking over you or raising their voices to get their point of view across. This is caused by their inability to handle feedback or criticism, and these people normally have low self-esteem. They are normally defending their ego. And don’t like to make mistakes. This is their way of protecting themselves. If you go into defend mode, you may need to reflect and ask yourself this question.

what are you protecting? Usually, you’re protecting your ego when you’re being defensive. You want to think that you’re a good, intelligent, or likable person, and you want others to think the same. You want to justify your decisions, the things you’ve done, or even who you are as a person.

Everyone employs a defensive strategy from time to time, and that’s normal if you’re under attack. However, some people feel like they need to wear a full suit of defensive armor just to have a chat. Some people feel this way because they have experienced emotional abuse. Others feel this way because they’re up to something.


 Denial Mode ( Who Me)

 Of course, this is something that needs to be addressed. And it can be tricky, especially when they use passive-aggressive behavior where they are trying to get you to react to a specific situation.

For example, my flat mate suddenly started to change her behavior after a recent disagreement, which led to a full-on screaming match.  The next three mornings I found items soaking in the kitchen sink. She knows that I like to wake up to a clean kitchen, and we had spoken about this previously, and now she started to soak stuff in the sink.

Things like glasses, dishes, and after the 3rd morning, I was angry. I knew this was passive-aggressive behavior, and once I calmed down, I had that important conversation about this type of behaviour.

 I was calm and I knew what she was doing and how she would respond. She has a behavioral pattern of justifying what she does and making excuses. I was able to control the conversation and set boundaries around what was acceptable. It felt empowering not to react and to take control as several times she tried to interrupt me. I walked away from the conversion feeling empowered and still respecting her with the way I communicated. 

When people deny and don’t take responsibility, it allows them l to continue engaging in destructive behavior without addressing the problem. Change does not occur, and they take up the role of victim or villain, where they attract drama into their lives that make them feel significant.

Number 3

 Deflect and Turn it Onto You

 This is where people will try to change the subject during the conversation, so the spotlight is not on them. They will bring up unrelated events or people to derail the conversation. They can even deflect it back onto you during the conversation. If they are turning it onto you, they are trying to trigger you so you will not remain calm and composed during the conversation. An example of this could be the turnaround strategy and saying that you are too sensitive, or I don’t know why you are speaking about this; it is just a small and insignificant thing.  Or it always takes two to have conflict. This is a form of gaslighting when you leave the conversation feeling that you shouldn’t have raised the topic.

So there you have it people will defend, deflect or deny when confronted with an important conversation. So you may be thinking, what do I do with this information.

Being emotionally prepared for these responses will keep you focused on the outcome you strive toward by having this conversation. If someone uses denial, then ensure you come to the conversation with evidence, such as the frequency of the behavior that you will not tolerate or exactly what happened, be prepared. If someone tries to defend, just bring the conversation back to the point that you are discussing and if someone goes into deflecting again, bring the conversation back to the point that you are discussing and keep it about them.

Don't Play their Game


I remember this point that one of my wise mentors told me about conflict. And imagine that person is trying to get you involved in a tug a war, trying to prove themselves right or to get you to react. They through out the rope in front of you, waiting for you to pick it up and get involved in their game. I imagine that is happening during the conflict, and I have a quiet smile myself, knowing that I am not going to play their game, and I walk over the rope. 

I leave you with don’t play their game. Be the person you want to become, and if you need to step away and gather your thoughts before responding, that is perfect. I am an introvert; I always give myself some time before approaching important conversations. 


Before I go today in summary, just remember everyone responds by defending, deflecting, or denying, and sometimes they may switch between each one during the conversation. Keep yourself focused on the outcome you have set before the conversation, and step into your power to speak up and be heard.

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About the Author


Many online course creators simply don't know where to start, or feel frustrated and overwhelmed with so much free information available on the internet. We provide your course launch framework that keeps everything simple giving you the exact next step to focus on in your business.

So you can build a thriving online business that gives you the freedom and a lifestyle that energizes you every day.

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