SAN FRANCISCOSept. 14, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — You know who they are. When they enter a room, people feel uneasy and uncomfortable. Everyone on the team knows they are full of negative energy.

“You don’t know if toxic people are going to go ballistic or criticize you, perhaps even in front of others, or blame you for everything and credit you with nothing,” says Mike Toy, author of the book It’s Not Magic: Secrets of Performing at Your Best (Indie Books International, 2017).

Toy is a keynote speaker, entertainer and peak performance trainer for international conferences and Fortune 500 companies. His clients include Google, eBay, and Citibank.

“For many years, I’ve been performing as a comedy magician on stage, making thousands of people laugh until it hurts,” says Toy. “I admit that I’m not the best magician in the world. I use every people skill I know to my advantage: tone of voice, volume, eye contact, physical motion, facial expressions, and so forth. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what makes people like you, even toxic people.”

Here are six suggestions on dealing with toxic people from Toy’s book:

  1. Have a talk and tell them exactly how it makes you feel when they say or do what upsets you. Sometimes they may not be aware of how they impact others.
  2. Reassure them that they are not negative people (even though that might not be true), but that what they say and do can be perceived that way by you and others. Telling them straight up that they are toxic might only make them defensive, which doesn’t help. You want to get them to be open to your suggestions. This communicates that you are trying to help and it also gives them a reputation to live up to.
  3. Ask if you can offer solutions. It’s always a good idea to get permission to suggest. They may be more open they ask for feedback. For example, “Instead of saying this (give the example) try saying it this way (give example).”
  4. Ask if they would be open to you letting them be aware of other incidents in which their words or actions might negatively affect you or others. This creates teachable moments. They may be more vigilant about watching their words and actions.
  5. Affirm every effort they make to improve. Toxic people need positive feedback for making efforts at improvement.
  6. If you’ve done all this and it’s still not working, then tell them that you’ve given this a chance and might have to regretfully exit the relationship. This shows that you really mean what you say. If they care about keeping you around, they’ll try to make an even greater effort. If not, then exit the relationship.

“I know some people would never ever cut off toxic people in their lives, even though it is a viable option,” says Toy. “Keep in mind that life is short, and toxic people can make your life even shorter.”

Toy’s mission is to help managers and teams improve performance so they can better relate and serve the people around them. He is honored to share these insights and stories with audiences around the globe.