How To Tell The Truth Without Losing The Listener

by Susan Dunn - Date: 2007-07-20 - Word Count: 418 Share This!

Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders, than from the arguments of its opposers. - William Penn

Have you ever believed something vehemently, and set about to convince someone else, and failed completely? It seems like the more earnest and determined we are, the more likely we are to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, so to speak.

Penn is saying that when we're too emotionally invested in something, we can have exactly the opposite effect than what we hope for.

If you're like me, you may even have faced someone who has already convinced of their proposition and you're ready to 'buy,' and then been so turned off by their presentation or their attitude toward you, that you walk away.

Emotional Intelligence is about understanding and using emotion, in yourself and others. Emotion gives us information, in its raw form. We then think about the information and whether we want to respond to it at the time. We want to reach a logical conclusion, make the best decision, and choose the wisest course of action.

When you have a truth to deliver, when you want to convince someone else of something, consider using a soft, calm tone of voice. Emotion motivates and convinces, but, particular where intellectual material is concerned (facts, ration, logic), only in its moderation. It is especially effective when the general tone is that of respect for the other, caring about them, curiosity for their position and concerns, and such quiet confidence in yourself that you don't need to "beat a dead horse."

As usual, we can count on Shakespeare to have said it best: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks," he wrote (Hamlet). Consciously or unconsciously we wonder - if this is such a great idea, why is she trying so hard. Something must be wrong. We naturally resist such pressure.

The wagging finger and harsh tone of the school m'arm, or intimidating chest-thumping defeat your purpose because they arouse emotions that interfere with thinking. They may also make the person dislike you, just because of the tone of your voice.

Wise counselors, coaches, speakers, teachers and parents lower their voices and slow down just before delivering the important information. Avoid overly intense eye contact as well.
When you need to correct a child, give a performance review, or have a talk with your husband, speak softly (and maybe you have a bigger stick in the long run).

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

Susan Dunn,Coach,, email, Individ. coaching, business programs, interactive 'net courses, and ebooks ( Rels. and career, stress, dating, etiquette, leadership. Coach cert. program-training worldwide. Cruise speaker. Prompt svc.n
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