Martial Arts Communication
By Gene Griessman, Ph.D.
You can use a principle from the martial arts to turn verbal attacks into wins for you. It’s well understood that Judo and Karate students learn to turn the energy of an attacker’s thrusts to their advantage.
Here’s a communication template that in a simple but effective manner uses this concept.
After the attacker makes his thrust, you yield slightly, then use that energy for your own benefit:
Say, “You’ve made some very good points.”
Pause, then say, “I have two (or three) concerns.” Or, “I can see three weaknesses in that position.” Or, “I can think of at least two, possibly three things that could go wrong if we use that program (or adopt that strategy).”
Then you say: “Would you allow me to…(or, Could I…) tell you what they are?”
It’s strategic to pre-number the points you want to make.
Here’s why. If you’re interrupted, you can say, “Could I tell you my third concern?”
This is a particularly useful tactic for media interviews. No host can afford to say no to such a request.
I’ve used it again and again on radio/TV and have never ever been refused. But it also works well in the boardroom or during team discussions.
This martial arts concept gives you a way to make sure your point of view or concern gets a hearing and perhaps turns an attack into a win for you.