Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tactical Communication

Tonight, I attended my brother's (Sonny) seminar on Tactical Communication: Improving Interpersonal Communication Skills and Diffusing Aggressive Behaviour Through Verbal and Nonverbal Messages. This is a required class for those working in the network of 12 bars and restaurants in the Byward Market, Ottawa. I was impressed by his ability to apply the materials to the service industry. He really is an expert in his field. 15 years working in the Byward Market makes him quite knowledgeable.

He ended the teaching part outlining Strategies for Conflict Prevention. The workbook lists 15 of these strategies. As I listened to his explanations, I realized that these are great guiding principles for those of us who attempt to share the gospel with people. Check them out. I will list them as they appear in the workbook but I'll add commentary in parentheses:

1. If not in clearly marked uniform, identify yourself. (This speaks to the need for Christians not to be ashamed to be identified as followers of Christ.)

2. Establish rapport as soon as possible.

3. Always begin in a friendly way.

4. If possible avoid any physical contact. ( I'm not sure how this applies to faith sharing. Maybe in the area of inappropriate touch?)

5. Utilize positive body language.

6. Actively listen ---do not interrupt.

7. Appear fair and unbiased. (Although our end goal is to eventually help people make a decision to follow Christ, in the process of sharing we should be fair and unbiased especially when you talk about other religions.)

8. Make an effort to honestly see things from the other person's point of view. (Awesome advice!)

9. If you're wrong admit it quickly. (It would be refreshing for Christians to admit their faults and failure in sharing the gospel. Most of us make the mistake of thinking we have to be perfect, successful, victorious etc. to be a convincing witness for Christ.)

10. Do not say the first thing in your mind especially if you have become angered or offended.

11. Use agreement/word re-direction.

12. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "you're wrong" re-direction of words "I see and..."

13. Get the person saying "yes" immediatley. (It's good to build common ground here.)

14. Important to remain calm and in control at all times.

15. Remember the only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.


Can Opener Boy said...

Hi Mark,

Good stuff -- thanks for sharing it. I think, along with being good info for conversations about a life of faith, it is also good info for those of us walking alongside one another!

Could you elaborate on point eleven? I'm not familiar with the idea of "agreement/word re-direction"

~ cob

Mark Juane said...

Hi Keith,

I agree with you that this is good advice for all of us on the journey.

What's meant by "agreement/word re-direction" is that when dealing with a belligerent customer (remember, this stuff was written with bouncers in mind), you agree with him and then re-direct him.


Yes, I can see how that get you really pissed! (agreement) Let's talk about it some more outside ok? (re-direct)

In a "spiritual sharing" situation:

Ya, I can see why the hypocrisy you've seen in the church can irritate you and how all the different religions can be confusing. But let me ask you, "Do you think Jesus was a hypocrite?"

In this situation, your friend may have issues about hypocrisy in the church and that all religions seem to be the same. You agree with him by identifying with what he's feeling but then you re-direct the conversation to what he thinks about Jesus, which is the real issue.

Hope this helps....