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Verbal Judo: Diffusing Conflict Through Conversation

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 18 December 2012



Verbal Judo: Diffusing Conflict Through Conversation
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Knowledge LetterAppears in the Gurteen Knowledge Letter issue: 150
Posted DateTuesday 18 December 2012 22:18 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
Linkshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btBw70HAys4&feature=share&lis ... 
PeopleGeorge Doc Thompson 

Academic-turned-cop (now that's an unusual career move) George Doc Thompson describes how tactical language allows leaders to achieve their goals.

This is an amazing man. I only discovered him the other day while browsing the Google+ Conversation community.

He reminds me a lot of the late Stephen Covey. He looks a little like him, he sounds a lot like him and his presentation style is similar. At times, I even get the impression he was influenced by Stephen, especially when he talks about empathic listening.

In Googling him I was sad to discover that he died in 2011 not long after the this video was recorded. He was one of the leading experts in verbal self-defence tactics and trained law-enforcement agencies around the world.

This is what Wikipedia says about Verbal Judo:

Verbal self-defense, also known as verbal judo,is defined as using one's words to prevent, de-escalate, or end an attempted assault.

It is a way of using words as a way to maintain your mental and emotional safety.

This kind of "conflict management" involves using posture and body language, tone of voice, and choice of words as a means for calming a potentially volatile situation before it can manifest into physical violence.

This often involves techniques such as taking a time-out, deflecting the conversation to less argumentative topics, and/or redirecting the conversation to other individuals in the group who are less passionately involved.

The benefit of Verbal Judo is clear when it comes to law enforcement but I think there is much we can all learn from the concept when we get into "arguments" with people whether in the workplace or in the family. Too often when someone gets emotionally upset and angry with us, we pour fuel on the flames and not water.

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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