One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they’re first using our skills is not treating it like learning a new language.
When you’re learning a new language it’s uncomfortable. It’s new. Many people are looking to be fluent right away, but learning a new way to communicate takes practice.
Most of all, it takes being human.
Some people new to The Black Swan Method™ will apply the skills too precisely and sound robotic. But if you’re only worried about applying the skill perfectly, you’re focused on the skill and not actually listening. Beginners can even overuse the skills and end up sounding mechanical—
They forget to be themselves.
When my mentor, Derek Gaunt, taught me to trust my instincts, things shifted for me. I used the skills as a guide instead of a script. I learned to trust myself and what I was sensing—to pick up on those underlying emotions in the person across from me.
Remember—the purpose of the skills is to season your conversations and create a better way of communicating, not reinvent your personality. You’re not going to talk the way I talk, and I’m not going to talk the way you talk. Use the skills naturally, not forcefully. It’s about gracefully weaving them into the conversation.
Most importantly, trust your gut. If you’re picking up on something instinctively, follow it.
Let Go of the Script.
The second mistake people make often is the assumption that they’ll walk into a room with the Black Swan skills and automatically know what to say. They’re looking for a script.
But you don’t need to know what to say.
When you’re tapping into your intuition and armed with these skills, you’re better prepared to listen and respond. You might start with a surface Label™, something simple, and it ends up leading the conversation where it needs to go.
Because when you’re listening deeper, you allow the conversation to take you places you didn’t expect. To lead you to the Black Swans.
With a script, you’re not focused on actively listening and only focused on what to say next. Scripts are security blankets. They’re listening to respond instead of listening to understand.
Again, it comes down to trusting yourself. A lot of new people, and even people who have used the skills for a while, don’t trust their gut. They’ll notice the elephant in the room—that underlying emotion—and instead of drawing attention to it, they stuff it under a rug.
In those moments when you’re seeking the script, the security blanket, settle into your curiosity. Trust what you’re hearing.
Trust the Skills.
At first the Black Swan skills can be uncomfortable. They’re counterintuitive. They feel weird. Clients are always protesting, “I don’t know, I can’t say that to them!” instead of actually implementing them.
Maybe you’re thinking these skills don’t work. The reality is you won’t know that until you’ve truly utilized them as they were meant to be utilized. Trust the process. Start with the small-stakes practice. That way, when you get to the bigger negotiation where you really want these skills to work, you’re comfortable—because you’ve already test-driven the skills.
Remember—this is learning a new language. And the only way to become fluent in a language is to practice it everywhere. Whether that’s at the coffee shop, with your kids, or with your partner, that’s where you want to start.
It’s only when you start using the skills that you'll get to see just how powerful they are.