11 Things I Learned about Verbal Judo

George J. Thompson and Jerry B. Jenkins' Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion was originally written for police officers who have to deal with difficult and deadly situations, but its lessons work for all careers, especially writers who encounter their share of criticism. Hey, there's a chapter entitled, "Taking Crap with Dignity...and Style."

Here are my key take-aways for writers/bloggers:

1. Empathy is the "single most powerful concept in the English language" (53).

2. "Your presence and your words when skillfully combined are knowledge and power in action" (93).

3. "Your first goal should be to win the person over" (130).

4. When you deal will difficult situations, apply LEAPS - Listen, Empathize, Ask, Paraphrase, and Summarize (153).

5. "If you disagree with the criticism, hold your tongue for the time being" (178). The authors also recommend that you ignore your inner voice in tense situations because it is usually negative.

6. "Anything decided in the moment will likely be counterproductive" (181). "Use adrenaline; never be ruled by it" (197).

7. "Train yourself to do the opposite of what you feel. If you feel like shouting, whisper" (182).

8. "Always maintain your professional face" (195).

9. "Always treat the other person as you would want to be treated" (195). It's the Golden Rule.

10. "Flexibility requires strength; rigidity equals weakness" (197).

11. "Use positive feedback when you least feel like it" (198).

If you deal with people face-to-face or in the digital world, you'll come across criticism or disputes. Thompson and Jenkins' book offers some good advice and techniques for taking the high road.

Happy reading!