Why So Contrary? Communication Tips For Polarity Response

contrary, polarity response

Why so contrary? Many of us have someone in our life that regardless of what we say, they offer an opposing view.

What do I mean by contrary?

I say/He says:






and the list goes on and on…

Anyone in particular come to mind for you: your loving partner, your child, your best friend?  How about a particular client?

Have you ever had a client that no matter what you said, they had a contrary opinion?  It can be rather frustrating at times.

Turns out, some people have what's known as a natural “polarity response.”  No matter what you say, they'll have an opposing view.

I learned about Polarity Responses many years ago when I was studying Neuro-Linguistic Programming.  It was a light bulb moment on how to communicate with one of my largest customers at the time. I realized he had a natural polarity response and that’s why what I was doing wasn’t working.  It was time to try something new.

Turns out, my clients have these customers too.  I regularly teach about polarity responders and how to communicate with them in my private coaching sessions and in my 5 week training class, Savvy Selling.

Learning to tweak how you phrase things can make a huge impact on contrary clients.

It certainly did with my largest customer, and I have used this tip over and over again throughout the years.


Your Savvy Sales Tip this week:

Adjust your phrasing when talking to someone who has a natural polarity response to improve your communication.


Want to know how I tweak my phrasing and how you can tweak yours?

Here’s how, I tweak my language slightly to make it easier for them to agree with me.  🙂

For example, instead of saying, “This would be the option I would recommend for you…”  I would say, “I’m not sure if this is an option you would consider…”

The natural polarity response to that statement is, “Oh, yes I will consider that option… “

Perfect, now they are considering the option I would recommend to solve their problem and meet their need.

Here’s another example.  Instead of saying, “Here's something you'll want to know about…,”  I would say, “Here's something you might already know about…”

The natural polarity response to that statement is, “I don’t know about it.”

Great, now I have an opportunity to tell them more.

Last example: Instead of saying, “This will solve the problem you're having.”  Try saying, “I’m not sure this is the right solution for you so you may want to think about it…(insert solution).”

The natural polarity response to that statement is, “Yes, it will solve my problem and I don't need to think about it.”

Please note, this isn’t about forcing a client into something they don’t want/need.  It’s a suggestion to help people get what they do want while allowing them to come to the conclusion on their own.  It’s about allowing the client to be the “expert” of what makes the most sense for them.

Start playing with your phrasing and see what happens.

Try it at home with the “certain someone” with the contrary views to all of your suggestions and notice what changes.  It could be something as simple as making a suggestion of what type of food to eat when going out to dinner.

In the past you might have said, “I feel like Italian food tonight.”  Your “certain someone” with the polarity response might have said, “I want Thai food.”

Now try this, “You might not want Italian tonight when we go out, what were you thinking we should get?”

If your “certain someone” comes back with, “Actually, I do want Italian tonight,”  then you know you are on the right track.

Play with your phrasing when you encounter clients with the natural polarity response and notice the difference in your communication. Chances are you'll find it easier to build rapport and earn their business.

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Nikki Rausch


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