Expert Q&A With

Beverly Flaxington

Beverly D. Flaxington, two-time bestselling and Gold-award winning author, is an accomplished consultant, hypnotherapist, personal and career coach, author, college professor, corporate trainer, facilitator, behavioral expert, entrepreneur and business development expert.

Beverly’s knowledge of human behavior and the most effective ways to make change happen have helped thousands of people and hundreds of organizations over the years. She is recognized as a confidence coach and work relationship “doctor” by many.

She is a frequent speaker and contributor to articles on the subjects of sales, marketing, behavioral issues, employee and career issues, effective time management and dealing with difficult people.

Beverly is an adjunct professor at Suffolk University. She teaches “Leadership and Social Responsibility”, a required course where Make the SHIFT is a required text. Beverly is a Certified Hypnotist, Certified Hypnosis Trainer, Reiki Master Attunement Practitioner, Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA) and Certified Professional Values Analyst (CPVA). She uses the DISC and PIAV tools frequently in her work with individuals and organizations.


What does your website - Understanding Other People - offer its visitors?


The most important feature on the website is my blog. I write every week about human behavior and my observations. I try to do this in a way that allows the reader to apply an idea right away to improve relationships. There are also some videos and many articles with interesting information. It is a great general resource.


Who inspired you to pursue a career in human behavior?


My biggest inspiration came from a family friend, Henry Szafarz, who died a number of years ago. Henry was a very successful businessman, but was also a hypnotherapist (self-taught). He devoted his life to understanding others and to using that understanding to help people. I started training with him when I was 18 years old and we remained close for many years. My second mentor, Dr. Richard Harte, was the person who certified me as a hypnotherapist and Dick was also a psychologist. These two men really opened my eyes to how much lies within the human mind that we are mostly unaware of!


What was the inspiration for your book - 'Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior'?


I was asked to create a graduate course at Suffolk University, where I am an adjunct professor, called Dealing With Difficult People. I took the opportunity to pull together all kinds of ideas from my learnings in both the corporate arena and in my hypnosis practice. I found there were themes – the five secrets. When I taught the class, the students (all working professionals) uniformly told me how helpful the material had been. Many wrote on my evaluations, “Everyone should take this course.” It inspired me to take the course material and put it into a mainstream book that everyone could access.


How does having an adept understanding of body language affect your private life?


Everything we do in life involves other people – family, co-workers, boss and subordinates, neighbors, etc. Even going to the store requires interaction with another human being in most cases. Learning to understand what someone is really saying through what is unspoken is key. We waste so much time because we mis-read cues from others.


What’s the best way to build rapport with someone you’ve never met before?


Watch their body language. Listen to the words they use. Pay attention to tone. To the degree you can, match them. We like people who are like us because we can understand them so much more easily. The more I am like you, the more you will hear me and understand me.


What is your S.H.I.F.T. Model?


I created the S.H.I.F.T. Model ™ at the request of a corporate client I had worked with for many years. We were meeting one day and he suggested that I take my approach, what I do so well with individuals and businesses to help them create change, and create a step-by-step system. Because of my interest in human behavior he pointed out that my approach is different because I take the “human element” into consideration in everything I do.

The S.H.I.F.T. approach is so key because many of us are never taught how to problem-solve and how to work our way out of difficult situations so we feel stuck. The process gives a step-by-step approach to looking at the same situation through a new lens.


How do you deal with difficult people?


Personally I no longer encounter too many truly “difficult” people. I mostly look at others, when I cannot understand what they do and why they do it, as a curiosity. I want to learn why they do what they do. I also recognize that often it is a behavioral disconnect. For example, the administrators at my children’s schools are troublesome for me. I am not a rules person at all and there are many people who are rules-oriented in those public school environments. Their approach can frustrate me, but I also realize it is simply different from mine.

For all of us, if we can adopt a position of “Interested Observer”, watching others and trying to understand what goes on with them – and why we find them to be so difficult, it can often diffuse situations. If we are more clinical and objective, we take the emotional reaction away. It doesn’t change their behavior, but it gives us more power to deal with them.


What have you got planned for the rest of 2012?


I just released a new book – 30 Days to Understanding Other People: A Daily Approach to Improving Relationships so much of 2012 will be speaking, and doing interviews for all of my work. I also run a very successful, very busy consulting firm. I travel quite a bit and I love working with my clients to solve their problems. And, I teach a course called Leadership & Social Responsibility to undergraduate students. We teach my S.H.I.F.T. Model ™ and the students use my book on the topic. And, I do a great deal in animal rescue so I allocate lots of time every week to saving as many abandoned and abused dogs and cats as I can!


Learn More


Click Here to visit Beverly Flaxington's website.

Dealing With Difficult People

Essential Reading

Book Details

This book should not be missed by anyone who wants to improve the quality of their relationships! Leveraging decades of experience working with people in many different areas and experiences, Beverly Flaxington has found a way to explain to all of us what we simply don't learn naturally - how to understand and communicate with others more effectively.

Readers will gain the insights they need to identify relationship missteps, and then apply easy-to-learn techniques to bring relationships to a more meaningful level in both personal and business settings.

See following link for full details.

Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior

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