- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Updated ed. edition (December 17, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062107704
- ISBN-13: 978-0062107701
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 539 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion, Updated Edition Updated ed. Edition
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From the Back Cover
"When you react, the event controls you. When you respond, you're in control."
Verbal Judo is the classic guide to the martial art of the mind and mouth that can help you defuse confrontations and generate cooperation, whether you're talking to a boss, a spouse, or even a teenager. For more than a generation, Dr. George J. Thompson's essential handbook has taught people how to communicate more confidently and persuasively in any situation. Verbal Judo shows you how to listen and speak more effectively, engage others through empathy (the most powerful word in the English language), avoid the most common conversational disasters, and use proven strategies to successfully express your point of view—and take the lead in most disputes.
This updated edition includes a new foreword and a chapter featuring Dr. Thompson's five universal truths of "human interaction":
- People feel the need to be respected
- People would rather be asked than be told
- People have a desire to know why
- People prefer to have options over threats
- People want to have a second chance
Stop being frustrated and misunderstood. Stop finding yourself on the losing end of an argument. With Verbal Judo you’ll be able to have your say—and say what you mean.
About the Author
George J. Thompson, PH.D., was the president and founder of the Verbal Judo Institute before his death in 2011. A former English professor and a black-belt master of karate, he created and crash-tested verbal judo when he was a police officer on an urban beat.
Top customer reviews
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1. The writer's opinions and methodology are derived almost entirely from his career in the police department. This, in itself, is fine. However, almost every bit of anecdotal evidence he provides for supporting his methods are police-related. This puts his claims immediately into question from a practical point of view. How often are our interpersonal relationships in any way related to those of the relationships between a cop and a belligerent motorist he's just pulled over? He goes to some length to speculate on how these methods might apply in a corporate or familial setting, but it doesn't inspire confidence in the reader to simply take his word for it. Cops live much different lives than most of us, and I am not feeling particularly confident that his methods universally apply in the civilian sphere as he claims.
2. The first 20 or so pages are spent basically selling the book's premise to the reader and explaining why developing verbal/argumentative skills are important. What a waste. I already purchased the book. I've bought the premise. Give me something to work with!
3. The writer is from a much older generation than me and his language reflects it. Words like "persnickety" come up on many occasions. Difficult to relate.
4. The co-author, Jerry B. Jenkins, was also co-author of the apocalyptic Christian dispensationalist end times series, "Left Behind." Had I bothered to look him up beforehand, I wouldn't have bothered buying this book. If the author in any way has religious fundamentalist beliefs, that casts massive doubt on his character and motivations. I'm inclined to toss the book in the trash because of this.
There are some more criticisms of the book that I'll simply let slide for the moment, as I think I've provided enough reason for you to avoid this mess. There are some tidbits of interesting perspectives and anecdotes included, but most of it is forgettable and likely not as useful as it sounds on the surface. Avoid.
Sir, much like many law enforcement professionals, you’ve fallen victim to your own ego. I’m confident you read these reviews so I wanted to give you some helpful feedback.
You start the book with your qualifications and generally badassery. This is ok and expected. As a reader, I appreciate your qualifications.
Yet, as the book goes on you simply overdue it. Chapter after chapter you recite your: education, martial arts expertise and physical prowess. My god man! We get it!
As a reader, I’m skipping over these sections constantly. I think, ok, he is that guy in law enforcement (we all know that guy). It takes away from the gem of a book you have created.
To reiterate, we get it man! You’re Chuck Norris times two. You created Giraffes by uppercutting a horse. You can hear sign language. You are so bad ass, you make onions cry. You don’t shake hands, you make them tremble. You play Russian roulette with a fully loaded gun and win!
For the love of all that is holy, please have a serving of humble pie! Whew....rant over. Excuse my candor.
Hopefully this sufficiently illustrates my point. One smart ass cop to another. Otherwise, this is a great book. Godspeed.
Throughout the book are interspersed quotes from Sun-tzu, like "To win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the highest skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the highest skill."
He distinguishes between 3 kinds of people: the nice, the difficult and the wimp. The nice people will do what you ask them the first time you ask them. They like to cooperate. Difficult people will not do what you tell them the first time you ask. It is their nature that makes them say "Why? What for?"
He adds that the 4 most popular questions Americans would ask are "Why?", "Who do you think you are to tell me what to do?", "Where do you get your authority?", and "What's in it for me?"
And wimps are the ones who sound like nice people, but are closet difficult people. To your face they say "Oh yes," "I agree," "You're right", but later they get you in the back. Wimps hate authority, but they don't have the guts to challenge you. They want revenge because they feel the need to even the score.
The first principle of physical judo is to not resist your opponent. Instead, move with him and redirect his energy - and the communication skills presented in the book follow the same pattern.
The author mentions 11 things never to say to anyone (some of these statements may be more applicable to policemen on duty): "Come here!", "You wouldn't understand", "Because those are the rules", "It's none of your business", "What do you want me to do about it?", "Calm down!", "What's your problem?" "You never ..." or "You always ...", "Im not going to say thing again", "I'm doing this for your own good", "Why don't you be reasonable?" He does clearly suggest what you may want to say or do instead, and also what you may want to say or do when someone else says those things to you.
The bottom line of communication that reduces conflict and tension is empathy - as in standing in another's shoes and understanding where he's coming from - and communicating with the person in a way that he can relate to. The communication warrior's real service is staying calm in the midst of conflict, deflecting verbal abuse, and offering empathy in the face of antagonism. If you cannot empathize with people, you don't stand a chance of getting them to listen to you.
The author points out that we deal with people "under the influence" nearly everyday. If it's not alcohol or drugs, it's frustration, fear, impatience, lack of self-worth, defensiveness, and a host of other influences - and that when we react instead of respond to the challenge, we run the risk of giving the greatest speech we'll ever live to regret, by saying the first thing that naturally comes to our lips.
Instead, like a samurai, we must first center ourselves - because if we cannot keep a still center, we cannot stay in control of ourselves or the situation. In this centered state we remain open, flexible, impartial, not biased.
To deflect antagonistic behavior, the author shares a selection of "strip phrases", where you let the other person verbally vent, followed by requesting what you need the person to do, as in "'Preciate that, sir, but let me see your license, please."
The next technique is "paraphrasing" by saying "Let me be sure I understand you. Let me be sure we're on the same wavelength." and then stating back what the person said, using his key words - as different words have different meaning to different people.
The goal of persuasion and the essence of Verbal Judo is to generate voluntary compliance. To execute it, the author suggests a 5 step process:
1. Ask the person what you want him to do
If he doesn't comply
2. Set Context by explaining why do you want him to do what you ask of him
If he doesn't comply
3. Present Options and point out the consequences of each option, then let him choose
If he doesn't comply
4. Confirm their choice by asking "Is there anything I can say or do at this time to earn your cooperation? I'd sure like to think there is."
And if he still doesn't comply
5. Act out the consequences of the choice the person made
The rest of the book teaches specific skills that help you to improve your ability to communicate and persuade. They begin with knowing yourself and the person you're talking to, using the language and the model of the world of the person you're talking to.
The author then shares five basic tools to generate voluntary compliance - listen, empathize, ask, paraphrase, and summarize.
You will also find examples of steps to solve domestic disputes, how to effectively criticize, how to obtain compliance through praise.
The author has provided examples both from police stories and those related to civilian issues.