10 Easy Backdoor Ways to Gain the Upper Hand in Conversations

LaRae Quy
8 min readApr 1, 2022

Some of my biggest laughs come from watching Hollywood movies and TV shows depicting FBI agents as indestructible bullies walking that fine line between good and evil. They are either taking the law into their own hands in their pursuit of justice or abusing their power to crush the little people that get in their way.

These movie heroes gain the upper hand with a combination of bullying, intimidation, and rudeness. It’s all very entertaining, but the danger that lurks is when impressionable audiences actually start to believe the tactics they see in movies will actually work in real life.

Life does not always imitate art, especially when the art comes in the form of Marvel comics made into action movies.

The truth is that FBI agents use several backdoor ways to gain the upper hand in conversations when they need to get the job done — not brute strength and ignorance.

No matter your situation in life, learning to talk to people in a constructive way is essential to your success because it helps give you an upper hand when dealing with employees, bosses, customers, and teenagers.

It can take a strong mind to keep emotions under control when you’re in a difficult conversation. Are you mentally tough? Take this evidence-based, FREE Mental Toughness Assessment

There are a few tricks of the trade I learned as an FBI agent for almost 25 years. And here are 10 that will help you to get people to lean toward your way of thinking when it matters most:

1. Leave a Strong First Impression

There is a reason FBI agents wear suits to work and visit the gym several times a week. They portray the image of someone who is both professional and capable of handling themselves in every situation. Most people make snap decisions within the first few seconds of meeting you. They spend the rest of the conversation justifying their first impression.

The person who makes a good first impression is the one who controls the image they project to others. If you believe you are inferior, that is the way you will come across — regardless of your qualifications. The way we think affects our behavior, and this is the essence of…

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LaRae Quy

Former counterintelligence FBI agent | Mental Toughness Center | Consultant | Speaker | Author: Secrets of A Strong Mind, & Mental Toughness for Women Leaders