50 ways to dodge a verbal bullet

How can you avoid injury and entering into a conflict, when someone attacks you verbally? Verbal Aikido enables the practitioner to accompany an attack to a balanced or positive outcome rather than letting it escalate into an emotional volcano.

There are countless types of possible attacks, but it is your intention to sincerely perceive the attacker’s point of view, or enter into their mind space (verbal ‘Irimi’) that will enable you to accompany the attack to a non-competitive, non-conflictual direction.

Here is a selection of 50 expressions that may encourage your attacker to elaborate his attack to the point of destabilization, which creates an opportunity for you to creatively orient the exchange to a peaceful or constructive outcome. They’re not applicable in all circumstances, but there should be at least one that corresponds to the attack you wish to accompany.

Interrogative Irimi

What makes you feel that way / say that?
That’s a question / judgment?
Where is this all going?
What would you like me to do?
Is there something else you’d like to tell me?
What’s the worst that could happen?
How much time do you have to talk about this?
How do you mean?
Where is all this coming from?
Why would you say such a nice thing?
What would you like to know?
And what do you think is going to happen now?
What do you suggest we do about it?
Are you OK? You seem really upset / stressed out!
Do you feel that anger / cynicism is the best response here?
What did you hear me say?
How long have you been feeling this way?

– Declarative or rhetoric Irimi –

I hear what you’re saying.
You sound really concerned about this!
You seem really upset…
This seems pretty important to you!
OK, so that’s how you see things? I wasn’t sure…
Really?
OK I see, yes that must’ve left you feeling less than pleased!
What happened? That’s terrible!
I wish this topic was easier to talk about.
I can see why you would say that.
I don’t blame you!
That can’t be easy to manage.
I know exactly what you mean.
Indeed!
I’m really trying to understand what you mean here.
Thank you.

– Reformulative Irimi –

So if I’ve understood correctly, you…?
So you have the impression that…?
Would I be right in saying that you think / feel…?
Are you trying to tell me that…?
I see, so it’s important for you that I understand…

Woman Pointing Gun 02 – Directive Irimi –

I think I see where you’re coming from, go on…
Help me understand that one.
I think there’s something else you want to tell me…
There’s gotta be a better way to find a solution!
Tell me what you heard me say.
Can you say that again please.
Please, do elaborate.
How about we talk about this over a beer/coffee!


We’d love to hear your own ideas – feel free to contribute below!

See also :

Fight or flight: How do you react to an attack?

What if you could manage conflict in three steps ?

Positive verbal stretching – Can we protect ourselves through/with/thanks to empathy?

 

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