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Hi! And welcome to another bite-size audio lesson. Our topic today?...Verbal Judo.
You know, I took judo as a kid and I liked it. One of the things I learned in taking judo is that you can actually use the negative energy of someone and turn it around to your advantage. I like that…I like the thought of not resisting but moving with someone to change that outcome. That’s a beautiful thing.
That same concept can be used in communication as well and that’s called verbal judo. Here’s what I mean. I had a friend whose mom was very negative and she would call him and say kind of mean things to him. She’d say, “John, you’re not a very good son.” Now, what can you say to that? Maybe that would hurt you, maybe it wouldn’t.
But in any event, he would typically respond with, “Well, Mom, you know I am. I do this and I do this.” And her response was, “Well, no, you don’t. You don’t do this and you don’t do this” and, you know, it would escalate and get out of control, hurt feelings, you know, the whole story.
Once John learned verbal judo, the whole dynamics in communicating with his mom changed. Here’s how the new conversation went. She’d call and she’s say, “John, you’re not a very good son.” His response was, “Well, Mom, from your perspective, that’s probably true.” Now, what can you say to that?
John actually took that negative energy and turned it back and moved into what we call agreement. Now, I’m going to define agreement here in just a second. But he actually said “from your perspective, that’s probably true.”
Now here’s what we’re advocating in verbal judo. Agreement in the context of verbal judo is acknowledging the truth of the other person. This is one of the greatest tips in diplomatic communication is knowing that someone’s truth, to them, is very real, whether it’s correct or not.
That’s so important to know. Now, we also know that everybody’s truths are reality. And we also know that not everybody’s truths are correct. Yet, our own truths are real to us. And in breaking down a resistance and opening communication, the best thing we can do is acknowledge the truth of the other person.
So I want to encourage you to practice verbal judo. If you have someone in your life that you have a lot of resistive conversations around, let me encourage you to script out some verbal judo responses and begin to use them in turning around that energy in how you communicate in that relationship. Good luck in practicing verbal judo.Tweet this post