Pat Katz Pat Katz




PAUSE – 15.36 – Are You Predator, Partner Or Prey?

Partners Smiling-wReflection: When you interact with others, are you more likely to play the role of predator, partner or prey? They all have consequences – some more desirable than others.

I was lucky enough to hear communications consultant, Amy Carroll, share this model of communication (developed by Pat Kirkland) with a group of appreciative business mentors and protégés. If you struggle to effectively connect with the odd person in your world, you might find my recap of her main ideas helpful.

First off…P, P or P…what’s the diff? A predator speaks forcefully from a looming stance intending to dominate the conversation and win the day. A prey speaks hesitantly from a submissive stance intending to smooth rough spots and maintain harmony at all costs. A partner speaks respectfully from a poised stance intending to connect with confidence.

As you might guess, the partner approach (an equal share of confidence and competence) offers the best chance to build a respectful relationship and generate positive results.

There is both an outer and an inner element to each of these ways of interacting with others: the way we outwardly present ourselves, and the inner mindset we bring to the party.

Amy suggests that we work on both the inner and outer parts in low-stress situations, so that we build the physical and mental muscles to keep partnering even when we find ourselves under stress and pressure.


Action: To behave more like a partner, in the face of predator or prey behavior from others, try practising these actions:

  • Stand or sit still, straight and tall with arms at the sides – not crossed in front of you in defense nor raised in authority.
  • Listen attentively with direct eye contact, nods and nonverbal acknowledgements – despite what may be coming at you from the other person.
  • Breathe deeply and speak at a slow pace with a low pitch in concise sentences.
  • Quiet your ego and the stories it may be spinning in the back of your mind. Substitute generosity and compassion for indignance.
  • Keep your eye on the big intention – a respectful partnered conversation.

Remember that in every interaction, we will own our words and expressions forever. Make more choices that you won’t regret over the long haul.


Quotes Of The Week: Here are a few thoughtful insights from Marshall Rosenberg, the granddaddy of nonviolent communication:

At the root of every tantrum and power struggle are unmet needs.

Take your time to understand. Don’t just do something, be there.

Judgments of others contribute to self-fulfilling prophecies.

What others do may be the stimulus of our feelings, but never the cause. We are responsible for what we hear other people say and for how we act.


Resource Of The Week: Check out Amy Carroll’s book, Undoing The Ego Tango. Or, dip into her online article: Behaviours Which Indicate Confidence/Competence.


Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, There’s More To Life Than Choosing Happy, Pause reader PM writes: I really resonated with this post today. I have been struggling so hard with what is next. Today I realized that happiness is what is next. Everything else will follow from this. Thank you for your continued leadership and inspiration.


Birch Buddies-wSpecial Offer Of The Season: Last week I launched a special offer that includes 100 copies of Take A Bow, plus an original watercolor painting, and individual copies of each of my other publications. You can check out the details by clicking Seasonal Bundle.

Sharing copies of Take A Bow is a great way to encourage and appreciate colleagues, employees, clients, volunteers, committee members, friends and family.

There are only 12 bundles available – fewer now. The painting included in each bundle is a one of a kind original work of art. The image featured here is the artwork that will be tucked in the next bundle that goes out the door.


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