You’ve just received great news! Your daughter was just chosen for new lead in a local city production and with excitement you reach out to your coworker to spread the joy. As you are explaining how hard it was for your daughter to accomplish this, your coworker “jumps in” with a “transition” of

“this must be the year of blessing because MY son was just accepted into college after he had to…”



After a long day of work you stop by your local supermarket to pick up a few items for dinner. As you are walking in, you catch eyes with a friend of yours coming out. They immediately launch into everything that has happened with them since last you two spoke. You try to politely indicate, without hurting their feelings, that you’re not in a position to talk right now. Sensing this, they keep interjecting,

“to make a long story short” but keep on talking.



While many of us a may find ourselves doing this from time to time to others, it’s the “habitual” use of these that cause people the greatest aggravations. If this IS you, stay tuned, we’ll deal with that in our next article!

So how do we effectively deal with people like this? Here are 3 simple techniques that should decrease your aggravation and increase your productivity:


1. Understand the Power of Passion – The one thing Hijackers & Dominators  have in common…PASSION! They are definitely passionate about the conversation topic (or at least as it relates to them!) 🙂 Turning the conversation back to themselves or about themselves is obviously important to them, and as Dale Carnegie Human Relations Principle #9 advises we want to always strive to make other people feel important in a sincere manner. So rather then becoming frustrated, like a squirrel burying a acorn away for later, immediately tuck the information away. This can be important for relationship-building later, and like the acorn, can be a useful way to “seed” future conversations!


2. Use the Power of Summation – Ultimately in communication the one thing we all want insured is BEING HEARD. Both Hijackers & Dominators have this need, much like we all do. The difference is, they just need direct confirmation. Dale Carnegie has two great guiding HR principles for this, #16 Allow people to think an “idea” is theirs, and #26 – Allow people to “save face”. When we combine both of these we are ready to deploy the Power of Summation!

When hijacked or dominated in a conversation, once again, our first thought is to try and understand what this person is passionate about and why. Once we’ve “tucked” that answer away, we can now move to find ONE point they have made. Then, like a wrestler “reversing” a move on an opponent, we can use that ONE point as a way to sum up the entire conversation, while leaving an opening to continue the discussion later.

Using the above example, with a slight “sense of urgency” in your voice (important), it may go something like this:


Them: “this must be the year of blessing because MY son was just accepted into college after he had to…”


You: “So your son made it into college!” (statement, not question) “You’re as proud of him as I am of my daughter, I can tell!” (statement, now back in control)


At this point you can try to continue to make the point about your point and risk being hijacked and/or dominated again, in which case you would continue using techniques #1 & #2 above. If you’d just like to end the conversation just add:


“I’ve got several things just about at deadline, let’s circle back around to this tomorrow after lunch”

Having a specific time and date to continue the conversation adds both to your credibility and likelihood of agreement. Once you have their agreement, make sure to follow-up with them later and use their passion as a tool of motivation if possible!


3. Unleash the Power of The “Turn” – Okay Roland, this is all fine and dandy, but what do you do with those that just won’t STOP! Yes, unfortunately, there will be those people that just won’t get the “hint”. They either won’t agree to let you back into the conversation, keep hijacking the conversation  or you just may be to timid/shy to break in. Whatever the reason the bottom line is, you must take control of the situation. If all else fails here’s a technique I learned while selling cars in my early work history.

Back in the day all the car salespeople had a system we called “up”. When the customer would step onto the lot the first person to see them would yell “up” and give a quick description of the “upped” customer. Now, no other salesperson was allowed to talk to that potential customer. If we were unable to “close” the customer, we would identify the objection then find another salesperson an “turn” the customer over to them as the expert on whatever their objection was! If they were able to close the customer we would split the sale!

Much in the same way we just have to sometimes “turn” people over to someone else! When conversation Hijackers turn into conversation Dominators and don’t seem to want to continue the conversation later, then we may have to get others involved in the conversation. Once again, using the above example, with a slight “sense of urgency” in your voice (important), it may go something like this:

Them: “this must be the year of blessing because MY son was just accepted into college after he had to…”


You: “So your son made it into college!” (statement, not question) “Jerry’s son just got accepted into college as well, let me buzz him and see if he’s available” (or physically start walking to this persons desk and “turn” them over!) Either way, indicate that YOU are not the right person to speak with on this new conversation direction.

Whichever techniques you choose to use, keep in mind that effective communication is more about maintaining relationships rather then winning an argument!

What are some  techniques you’ve found useful?


I don’t put talent into people. I help let it out.  Contact me TODAY and let’s get you MOVING on the right track!


Roland Gilbert, CLCO (Chief Life-Change Officer)
The Perennial Growth Group
Dale Carnegie Certified Trainer & Performance Coach

My mission is to coach individuals for intentional, authentic living. This mission is accomplished through workshops, speaking, writing and coaching. For over 10 years I have trained leaders and have helped people grow. My experience includes working with several large manufacturing corporations, hundreds of individuals and groups, and as an active ministry worker of my church. Because of my diverse background I am able to help clients effectively address all aspects of life

Where can I help you get to…?