Enhance Your Communication, Enhance Your Career
Communication woes plague professionals across the board: Supervisors reprimand you in front of others. Coworkers tactlessly reject your ideas. Clients lash out at people to get what they want.
Rather than pushing back, getting even, or seething in silence, you can gain control of the situation and diplomatically deal with unkind people and behavior. The solution is called Verbal Aikido, and it’s a communications technique that won’t get you fired.
Aikido is a Japanese form of self-defense that uses non-resistance to debilitate an opponent’s strength. The Aikido practitioner seeks to counter attacks without bringing harm to the attacker in order to create balance. In other words, when pushed, you pull; when pulled, you push.
This technique is just as effective with verbal attacks. It allows you to respond to a verbal attack by accepting the comment, redirecting it, and reaffirming your stance in a positive manner. Avoid being hostile and building emotional barriers!
Verbal Aikido Basics
The cardinal rule of Verbal Aikido is to not repeat the accusation. By doing so, you absorb the negative message.
If someone questions a business purchase with an accusatory, “Why are you wasting the company’s money?” don’t respond by yelling, “I’m not wasting the company’s money! I need these items to perform my job!”
Such a response reinforces the blame on you. Instead, a verbal aikido practitioner would redirect the comment by saying, “Let me tell you how I invested the company’s money.”
Your Verbal Aikido response also reaffirms your control over unneeded emotional responses, thus giving the other person nothing to push against.
Suppose you’re giving constructive criticism to a male co-worker who tells you, “What I did is perfectly fine. You’re just too emotional. All you women are alike.”
Instead of becoming emotional and reinforcing his claim, say, “I agree. I can overreact at times. Let me explain why I feel this way about the situation.”
This response accepts the basis of the situation without absorbing the negative aspects. However, you redirect the accusation by agreeing. The response also reaffirms the other person’s feelings of frustration. As a result, you diffuse the confrontation and can work toward repairing the situation.
There’s no doubt that being able to communicate effectively is a major determinant to professional success. Hostile and emotional reactions only add fuel to the discussion … while counter responses restore harmony and balance.
So the next time you’re the recipient of a verbal lashing, analyze the comment. If the other party is pushing your buttons, pull back. If the other party is pulling you in a direction you don’t want the conversation to go, push forward.
Remember these five tips:
1. Protect yourself from others who try to infect you with their anger and hostility by being Direct with Respect®.
2. No matter who is dishing out the verbal assault, whether it’s a client, coworker, or supervisor, never repeat the accusation. Doing so will only force you to absorb the negative message.
3. You can diffuse any verbal attack by dissecting the comment and then deciding whether to push or pull as you accept, redirect, and reaffirm the statement.
4. When you give the other party nothing to push against, you gain control of the situation.
You are able to remain positive during the conversation, not defensive.
5. When all else fails, have the courage to walk away from someone who is verbally attacking you. Don’t be a willing participant in an uncontrollable negative situation.
The more proficient you become at Verbal Aikido, the more natural it will become – and the stronger all your verbal communications will be.
If you want to go further into your own professional growth, check out the link for the on-demand
Communicate with Impact Course
“Joyce Weiss has a knack for getting to the point when it comes to communication. Her Communicate with Impact program has taken us to another level in our communication through out all ranks of our organization. This has allowed us to cut through our personal barriers to get to the real issues at hand.”
Nancy Wasczenski, Presidnet, Parda Federal Credit Union
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Until next time…Remember
“You Get What You Tolerate!”
Joyce Weiss, M.A., CSP
Conflict Resolution Consultant and Accountability Coach