Breaking the pattern

The pattern is the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done. Consider breaking the pattern when you need to achieve your results.


If you can detect a pattern in human communication, you can predict this communication outcome and influence it. 

Understand that influencing something means that you either do something to change the route (the continuation) of the pattern or predict that the pattern’s continuation is in your favor. You let it unfold to serve your interests. 


How to use patterns to your advantage?


1st. Prepare for communications where you know you will face a sequence of expected human communication and try to figure out how to influence this communication to go your way.


2nd. Set up situations that are going to drive to a pattern of events for your favor. 


Let me give you some examples of that.


You are going to have an interview with a potential employer. 

You think you know the criteria that they are searching for and know your strengths and weaknesses. 


You want to influence this communication positively for you so that they hire you for this specific position. 

Break the ice and achieve a positive and friendly rapport with your interviewers. 


Do not open topics that can unfold against you. If, for example, using specific tools online is not your biggest strength, avoid mentioning those tools or avoid bringing the conversation in a position where those tools will be asked. 

Instead, drive the conversation in the topics you are strong. You can do that either directly (do not underestimate the power of direct addressing issues) or indirectly direct the conversation to those topics. 

For example: If your strength is selling in Technical directors, you can mention a quote that will drive the conversation on this topic, such as: “Technical directors are notorious for their introvercy and reluctancy on receiving sales calls.” A statement like this can drive the conversation to this topic, where you know you are strong. 

Setting up situations where the pattern that is going to evolve from there will be in your favor. 

Receive information about your counterparty. What the counterparty likes or doesn’t like, fear or favor. 

Then set up the scenery of the conversation with the elements that will most probably drive to the pattern that will lead to your favored outcome. 

The boldest example that comes to my mind regarding this topic is the Paris Peace Accords, where the North Vietnamese Delegation insisted on having those talks at a round table. On a round table, all the people seated at the table had equal weight and equal say in matters. 

The setup of the environment puts all negotiating parties in an equal position. On the contrary, where the seated position of the one-party is elevated will tell you at a glance who has the authority. 

When I was selling time-sharing back in the day, the meetings with the couples invited for the meeting took place on a small, rounded table. When the agent was male, he sat next to the husband, and when the agent was female, she sat next to the wife so that the visual picture does not show as a threat to the opposite partner. Every detail of those meetings has been set up in that way to drive to the wanted outcome. To create specific patterns where the unfolding of them would lead to the desired result. 

When you see that the unfolding of the pattern divers from your goals, then disrupt or break this pattern. 

Patterns often do not unfold the way we want them to develop. If you detect that the unfolding of the routine goes the wrong direction, stop it or break it. If you do so, things might not go your way, but most commonly and with most certainty, a negative unfolding will end against you. 

By breaking patterns, you might be able to bring a different outcome.

Breaking the pattern

The most common answer to give is to do something that is not predicted in the sequence of events to unfold. 


The unexpected will shuffle the deck of the cards and will redirect the current conversation. That redirection is going to bring a different outcome than the one that was about to come. It might turn against you, but at least you have a chance. 

Here is an example I am very familiar with. 

The following is a sample telephone conversation with a “gatekeeper,” a secretary who wants to “filter” the incoming calls to her manager. The scenario is this. Every day several salespeople try to reach out to her manager. They follow up a particular script, which triggers a response from her and unfolds a communication pattern. Let’s name our secretary Jane and let’s name the agent that calls Carl. John Miller is the head of IT, the person Carl wants to speak to. 

The unfolding of the pattern.

Jane: Z technologies, this is Jane, how may I help you, please?

WRONG: Carl: Goodmorning Jane, my name is Carl from the company Luminus marketing. May I speak with Mr. Miller, please? Carl verifies exactly the salesperson pattern. He introduces himself as a good boy, he says his name is Carl, but he asks for Mr. Miller, he sets an unequal setup for a conversation. Carl vs. Mr. Miller. Wrong

CORRECT: Carl: Goodmorning Jane, I would like to speak with John. (He does not introduce himself (as salespeople typically do), and he refers to Mr. Miller as John. That makes Jane doubt with whom she is speaking. Is it a friend or her boss? Is he an important person? 

This wording is breaking the pattern that Jane has in her mind about a sales telephone call. 

At this introduction, she responds as follows: 

Jane: What does this regard, Carl? 

Carl: John knows what this regard. Breaking the pattern Carl does not discuss with Jane what the content of this call is going to be. That brings much confusion to Jane; she does not know what to do. Because she is in doubt, she passes the call to John Miller. Carl achieved his goal. 

Jane: Thank you for calling. Mr. Miller is not available now. Send us an email please to

Carl: But I wanted to speak with Mr. Miller.

Jane: You need to send us an email first. We are going to read it and let you know if there is interest. 

Carl: OK, thank you very much. The call ended as predicted from the initiated pattern at the beginning. 

Alex Valassidis