March 2008 Newsletter
Audrey Nelson Ph.D, Inc

Smart Talk
One Up Communication:
Disarm and Move On

I just attended our Western Speech Communication Association convention. I sat in on the Top 4 Papers in Communication Theory panel. An excellent paper was presented that addressed communication patterns in a hospice setting among health care professionals. One of the patterns was “one up”. It struck me how people involved in any context from a death and dying situation like hospice, the corporate boardroom or Monday morning staff meeting employ this disruptive and uncooperative style.

What do you do if someone is playing one up with you? Here are some choices (you are the best judge for your circumstance what choice/s will work):

  1. Ignore it. Don’t feed it. Eliminate the tug of war.
  2. Ask them to explain their idea, opinion in more detail. This allows you to get more insight and time to strategize. Sounds like this: Bob, why do you think your plan will work? Don’t say: Bob why do you think your plan will work better than mine?
  3. Solicit the group (if there is one, if not, ask to solicit the group at the next meeting or by email, etc). Turn to the group and say: What do you think of Bob’s idea? This is risky. The group could say: “We like his idea better”.
  4. Thank them for their input. Sounds like this: “Bob, I appreciate your feedback on my plan and providing a different perspective.”

Remember what drives this behavior is typically a low self-esteem and need for attention and recognition. Also know that these people are transparent. The group typically knows what they are doing and can see through their ploy. While the behavior is a game and manipulative, does not mean you should be reactive. Self regulate your emotions and response. It is not an attack on you, but merely often their way of filling their empty cup.

Monthly Articles

LOOK for Audrey quoted in Denver Women’s Magazine April 2008 issue “Communication Problems Between Mothers and Daughters”
by Courtney Drake-McDonough.

Amy Oliver Show - Dec 2007
"The Hillary Card: How The Gender Card Will Play Out in the 2008 Election"
and "He Speaks, She Speaks"
Click to hear interview

"First Person Essay: My Other Ex"
Dec 2007
click here to view article

"Where in the World is Audrey?"

Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM),
Colorado Springs

Go Home and Put on Some Clothes: Has Casual Friday Gone Over the Top?

Thursday, March 6th
Antlers Hotel, Colorado Springs
(Exit #142 off I 25)
11:30 am-1pm
Registration: Angela Hamilton

Boulder County
The Power of
Positive Discipline

, March 11th
Boulder County Training Room,
Pearl St Mall Bldg
8am-4 pm
Registration: Joe Heard

Starting Your Own Business for Health Care Professionals Conference
The First Five Seconds: There is No Dress Rehearsal for a First Impression!

Wednesday, March 12th

Keynote Lunch
Westin, Westminster, CO

United States Forest Service
What Were They Thinking: Prevention of Sexual Harassment

You Don’t Say

March 26th and 27th
Missoula, Montana
8 am-4pm

Did you miss one of the
Smart Talk Columns?
Browse the archives of Audrey’s 2006-to date Smart Talk Columns on her web! Simply go to
and click on “Newsletters.”
What People are saying about Audrey

Hi Audrey:

I thought you'd get a kick out of this of your former students works here at Sun and is thrilled to be attending your Seminar next week. It's a small world. See below.

Best Regards,
Carol Neustadter

I will be attending.... wow, a blast from the past! Dr. Nelson was my professor at CU for a few undergrad classes. I have not heard her speak in a long while so this will be good. Thanks Sun Women for hosting such great events!

Justine Vigil-Tapia

Hey Audrey,

Just wanted you to know the accolades are coming in!

You truly are an inspiration!

Jamie Hughes
SUN Microsystems

"Audrey's Top 4 CD Communication Hits"