Verbal Judo | George J. Thompson

Summary of: Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion
By: George J. Thompson


Welcome to the realm of Verbal Judo, a powerful method of persuasion that stems from the experiences of its creator, George J. Thompson. In this book summary, you’ll explore the gentle art of communication and how it can transform conflict resolution, enhance empathy, and foster more meaningful relationships. Learn to avoid phrases and actions that trigger negativity, embrace the power of empathy, and hone your skills to become a contact professional in high-pressure situations. In a world full of miscommunication and tension, Verbal Judo aims to provide you with a set of tools that will empower you to thrive in your personal and professional lives.

The Power of Verbal Judo

Communication as an art of defusing conflict, a practical guide to Verbal Judo.

Imagine being a rookie cop in a rough neighborhood of Emporia, Kansas, and getting dispatched to break up a domestic altercation at 2 a.m. You’d be scared right? Luckily, the author’s partner, Officer Bruce Fair, was wise enough to know the art of communication and effectively used Verbal Judo. The author shares this experience as his first lesson in Verbal Judo, where there are no fixed rules but strategic approaches to communication.

Officer Fair, unfazed by the screaming couple, sat on their couch and read the newspaper. His presence interrupted the dispute, and he asked the couple to use their phone, which threw them off and drew compliance. The officer cleverly pretended to be displeased that someone refused his call at 2 a.m. Then, in a low tone, he reminded the couple to be quiet at night and asked about their conflict.

By utilizing effective communication, the conflict was resolved amicably. This experience opened the author’s mind to master the art of communication. He learned to observe and take notes on how communication defuses tense situations. He observed his fellow officers closely and uncovered the strategy behind their instincts.

Verbal Judo is a guide that showcases the art of communication and takes you through practical, strategic approaches. It’s an excellent tool for anyone in a conflict-prone environment and anyone interested in learning practical communication skills. The book gives a clear understanding of how communication can defuse conflict, and how a strategic approach can make a significant difference in any confrontation.

Mastering the Art of Effective Communication

Effective communication is not just about what you say, but also how you say it. This is the central message of Verbal Judo, a communication strategy that emphasizes respect and persuasion over confrontation and coercion. The author argues that common phrases like “come here!” or “you wouldn’t understand” can be counterproductive and should be avoided in favor of engaging, informative language that helps to build trust and respect. Using real-life examples, the book shows how Verbal Judo can help everyone from police officers to parents to improve their communication skills and achieve better outcomes. By explaining the rationale behind rules and focusing on positive outcomes, communicators can elicit cooperation and understanding instead of defensiveness and resentment. Overall, Verbal Judo offers a compelling case for the power of language to influence behavior and shape relationships.

The Magic of Empathy

Empathy allows you to see through someone else’s eyes and improves communication. It’s not about sympathy, but understanding another’s perspective. Being empathetic can help defuse tense situations and save lives, like in the author’s experience of preventing a suicide attempt by understanding the man’s perspective and offering alternative ways of committing suicide.

Mastering the Art of Paraphrasing

Learn how to interrupt a conversation gracefully and use the paraphrasing technique to improve communication with others.

Do you struggle to get a word in edgewise with people who love to talk? Do you want to know how to politely interrupt them and steer the conversation your way? The key is to use the powerful technique of paraphrasing.

Interrupting someone can feel intimidating, but it’s necessary to get the conversation moving in the right direction. To do this, use a neutral word like “whoa!” or “listen!” in a calm voice to politely pause them. Once you have their attention, paraphrase what they said in your own words to show that you understand and are listening.

Paraphrasing is a powerful tool in communication, showing empathy and understanding to the other person. It gives you control of the conversation and allows you to clarify their points. By saying you want to make sure you’ve understood correctly, you signal that you care about their position and are willing to work with them.

For example, if your partner accuses you of always coming home late, you might ask if they think you’re always too late. This opens up the conversation to discuss the reasons behind your lateness and how to fix the issue. Paraphrasing allows you to communicate effectively and prevent misunderstandings in your personal and professional life.

In conclusion, interrupting a conversation and paraphrasing can be mastered with practice. These skills can help you build better relationships and make communication more effective.

Mastering Communication Under Pressure

Effective communication is essential to make people happy and compliant. To achieve this level of professionalism, one needs to identify and overcome their communication flaws. Such flaws can be considered as inner enemies. The author discovered early on that he had trouble with people challenging his authority, which he named “wanna bet” voice. When facing high-pressure situations, recognizing and naming the inner enemy can help you keep calm and avoid errors or aggressive reactions. The importance of overcoming such inner enemies can be seen in the example of Michael Jordan, who delivered his best game even under pressure. Therefore, identifying and mastering communication under pressure can take your communication skills to the next level by making you a contact professional.

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