Getting what you want

This is NOT at all woo-wooey….. this is just some practical stuff to take a look at:

Sounds good, doesn’t it? The key is choosing words carefully – in emails, letters, discussions –when asking for a change.  whether you are after a refund/discount, better hotel room, family compromise, improved conditions at work or anyone’s respect, well-chosen words can bring those to you.

First step:  Check your emotions at the door.  Sad but true, emotional manipulation is a high price to pay for anything, especially if anger, hurt, or a needy demeanor is required for extended dealings.  What are the prices: a.  We believe what we act out, then become it. b.  Emotional appeals/demands lost power as listeners learn they are a strategy. c.  Forget  respect. Using emotions in negotiation is immature and recognized as such.

Second step: Choosing words.  A spectrum of choices exists but only two of the categories avoid negative consequences.

In the spectrum, the first three are about getting what you want by being passive.  “Neutral” is about getting what you want by being inoffensive but clear.  “Powerful” word choices get what you want by being compelling but nonthreatening, and the last three are about getting what you want by being aggressive.

  1. Dissembling: Phony smiles, unctuous (like this word?) lies, influences only as long as listeners are fooled.
  2. Euphemistic: Phrasing concepts in vague words, denying the truth, humor strategy, only delays an outcome by confusing the issue.  Example: “not right in the head” instead of “mentally ill.”
  3. Weak: meaning hidden beneath excess words, diminishing facts or feelings by sentence structure or by added modifiers —“almost angry”.  To hide or plea for influence due to pity.
  4. Neutral: Diplomats, journalists and scientist strive for this, typically sounds unadorned but clear.  God for negotiation and nonfiction.  Influences by presenting as close to an unbiased truth as possible.
  5. Powerful: Strong, dynamic, interesting, motivates, inspires.  Compelling in fiction and non fiction.  This category influences by direct presentation of an opinion – dares to take a position.
  6. Hyperbole: Over the tope, often seems silly, humor strategy, selfdom succeeds at influencing.
  7. Inflammatory Rhetoric:  Insulting and challenging words chosen to manipulate through fear.
  8. Invective: Slurs, name calling, blame, ranting, cursing, foul language, threats, manipulative only when listeners are intimidated.

The first three and the last three have in common that people often recognize them as deceptive.

Only Neutral and Powerful categories are functional places to select words for most personal dealings.

Nevertheless, all word choices can be used in fiction or nonfiction to develop a character through quotes/dialogue or shared thoughts.  In the fiction narrator’s voice, this spectrum creates an interesting and human range of moods and tones.

However, righteous indignation, true need or injury are best addressed with a reasoned adult lexicon … i.e. grown up talk.

Windy today, huh?  Well, you stayed this long… whew, I am proud of you…..

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