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Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion
Synopses & Reviews
Chapter OneBirth of the Communication Samurai
It was the most outrageous way to bust up a fight I had ever seen. I'd been a rookie cop ten days when my partner got the call. At two A.m. we were dispatched to break up a nasty domestic dispute in a tenement on the east side of Emporia, Kansas, notorious for drug dealing and random violence.
We could hear the couple's vicious, mouth-to-mouth combat from the street. My training sergeant and partner, Bruce Fair, and I approached and peeked through the halfopen door. Then Bruce just walked in without bothering to knock. I watched as he strode right past the warring couple, took off his uniform cap, sighed, and planted himself on the couch. Ignoring the argument, he picked up a newspaper and thumbed through the classifieds!
Leaning against the door with my hand on the butt of my .357, I was flabbergasted. Bruce seemed to violate all the rules of police procedure. I had never seen him enter a house without identifying himself, without asking permission, or without at least saying why he was there. There he was, treating an angry couple in a tenement apartment as if he were a visiting uncle.
Bruce kept reading and the couple kept arguing, occasionally glancing at the cop on their couch. They had yet to notice me. As the man cursed his wife, Bruce rattled the newspaper. "Folks. Folks! Excuse me! Over here!"
The stunned husband flashed a double take. "What are you doing here?"
Bruce said, "You got a phone? Look here. A 1950 Dodge! Cherry condition! Can I borrow your phone? I know it's late, but I don't want to miss out on this. Where's your phone? I need to call right now!"
The husband pointed to the phone, incredulous. Bruce roseand dialed, then mumbled into the phone. He slammed it down. "Can you believe they wouldn't talk to me just because it's two in the morning?"
By now the fight had evaporated, the couple standing there as dumbfounded as I was. "By the way," Bruce, said pleasantly, as if just becoming aware, "is anything the matter here? Anything my partner and I can do for you?"
The husband and wife looked at the floor and shook their heads. "Not really, no." We chatted with them a bit, reminding them that it was late and that everyone around would appreciate a little peace and quiet. Soon we were on our way.
Then I was really puzzled. Earlier that night we had broken up a similar dispute in the classic cop fashion. We quickly took control with polite authority, performed what's known as a "separate and suture" (where the warring parties are separated, calmed, and then brought back together), and diffused the situation. That was the way I had been trained, so what was this new twist?
As soon as we were back in the squad car I asked him, "What in the world was that all about? Why did we separate and suture earlier and pull this crazy newspaper — and telephone gag just now?"
He shrugged. "I don't know. I've been on the street more'n ten years. You just learn."
"Hey, I may be new at this," I said, "but I'm no kid. I was thirty-five. I haven't got ten years. I could get blown away if I tried that stunt.We need to talk. Tell me how you knew you could get away with that."
Improve communication, resolve conflicts, and avoid the most common conversational disasters through simple, easily remembered strategies that deflect and redirect negative behaviour.
Verbal Judo is the martial art of the mind and mouth that can show you how to be better prepared in every verbal encounter. Listen and speak more effectively, engage people through empathy (the most powerful word in the English language), avoid the most common conversational disasters, and use proven strategies that allow you to successfully communicate your point of view and take the upper hand in most disputes.
About the Author
George J. Thompson, Ph.D., is a former English professor and a black bet master of karate. He created and crash-tested verbal judo when he was a police officer on an urban beat. He is now a popular lecturer and lives -in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jerry B. Jenkins was most recently the co-author of Miracle Mon. The Nolan Ryan Story.
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