Use verbal aikido to resolve conflict and build relationshipsHow do you deal with the unexpected confrontation?
What do you do when someone’s response is obviously designed to control?
Deciding exactly what to do is the challenge. Verbal Aikido seeks to counter an attack without bringing harm to the attacker. The objective of Verbal Aikido is to uphold and restore the balance to the situation without being hurt or hurting the attacker.
- Don’t aim to hurt your opposition.
- Instead of trying to silence the person attacking you, listen, absorb, and redirect their energy to solove the problem.
- Recognise and respect the attack without responding to or accepting the attack.
- Seek knowledge to understand the situation, even if you don’t agree with it.
- Avoid trying to force your views, but rather demonstrate a willingness to listen.
- Do not reinforce his resistance, but do acknowledge it.
- Let it be known that it’s OK to disagree.
Here are a few examples of Aikido responses.
|"It won’t work"||"It may not, and I do see that some problems may arise. What do you see that will not work?"|
|"You’re just like everyone else!"||"I hear what you’re saying, but what do you see is the problem, and how you think it can be resolved?|
|"All you think about is yourself!"||"It is true that I do think about myself, but what is it you would like from me? Can you tell me what is bothering you?|
|"This isn’t fair!"||"Sometimes decisions may not always seem fair, but they are made with good intentions usually to help make things better for everyone. So, in what ways have things not been fair for you?"|
|General Attack||"There may be some truth to that. I’m not perfect by any means, but look I am interested to hear what you have to say about this issue in greater detail."|
1. Listen to understand, not to gain tactical advantage.
Don’t be defensive. Relax. Use this opportunity to gain trust and to receive information. If you’re striving to win at the other’s expense, watch out! You’ll probably lose the battle, as well as their trust.
2. Listen to discover what the person really means.
Constantly re-check the meaning of words, specifics and of the issues. Learn to become aware of the non-verbal communication or body language. Sometimes people can say one thing with their mouth but something completely different with their bodies.
3. Listen with questions in mind. Ask yourself…
- What is the point they are trying to make?
- Are the points consistent with each other?
- Does it make sense?
- Is there real evidence to back up the assertions?
- Is this information fact or fiction?
- Is my feelings or emotions obscuring the issue?
- Is the issue really the real issue?
- Is my ego in the way?
Don’t be a "bore". A "bore" is "someone who talks when you want them to listen. So avoid being a bore and learn to listen.
5. Begin redirecting the discussion towards solving the problem.
It can be very frustrating discussing issues which has not been focused on solving the problem. Be honest, direct and courteous in discussing the possible ways to address the issue in a constructive and positive manner.
6. State your own views.
Be honest and forthcoming but not overbearing. Share your points of view and explain the reasons slowly and clearly to the position you hold.
If middle ground is available and appropriate, then suggest that possibility. If there are restrictions, rules or other circumstances preventing you to find the middle ground, discuss those restrictions in a calm and patient manner.
7. Encourage follow-up.
Thank the person for having shared their information and let them know that you would like to discuss this again soon. Then follow-up with a phone call or a brief letter acknowledging their concerns and thanking them for their time.
Verbal Aikido can be an excellent communication tool to turn a potentially destructive situation into one with a more positive outcome. It does not come easy and does require practice. From your very first attempt, because you are focused on working towards a positive outcome resolution, then the chances are good that the result will be.
After all, listening and thinking quickly on your feet is difficult; especially when confronted by an intimidating person or situation. That is the real test. Listening and being quick on your feet to give an appropriate "aikido" response.
Even experience people can easily become tongue-tied when a situation of confrontation may take place.
One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance who ran up to him excitedly and said,
"Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?"
"Wait a moment," Socrates replied.
"Before telling me anything I'd like you to pass a little test.
It's called the Triple Filter Test."
"Triple filter?" questioned the young man.
"That's right," Socrates continued,
"Before you talk to me about my student, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you're going to say."
The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"
"No," the man said, "actually I just heard about it and ...''
"Ah right," said Socrates.
"So you don't really know if it's true or not - Now let's try the second filter, the 2nd filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"
"No, on the contrary..."
"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him, but you're not certain it's true. You may still pass the test though, because there's one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"
"No, not really."
"Well," concluded Socrates,
"if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"
Use this triple filter test to anything we have heard about another person and maybe considering repeating to another.
Gossip can be a cruel, humiliating and thoughtless punishment and is a severe form of bullying and exclusion. Gossip was responsible for the death by suicide of Socrates. Think it over before you repeat anything about anyone and consider the impact that being gossiped about can have or is having on your life.
Gossip is also the act of a bully.