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Tongue Fu: Powerful Words to Diffuse Any Verbal Conflict with Sam Horn - E146

Tips on how to diffuse any verbal conflict, request promotions, manage workplace interactions, and handle personal and parenting scenarios with effective use of language from Sam Horn's book Tongue Fu
Tongue Fu Sam Horn

Tongue Fu: Powerful Words to Diffuse Any Verbal Conflict

Do you ever find it difficult to use the right words in tricky situations? What do you say to influence others or diffuse a situation? This article is a summary of the today’s episode with Sam Horn, the author of Tongue Fu. Sam offers excellent advice that can help you shine in meetings, get that promotion, or even improve relationships at work.

Tongue Fu Book by Sam Horn

This episode covers:

  1. Unlocking the Power of Words

  2. In Conversation with Sam Horn

  3. Tips for Turning Conflict into Cooperation

  4. Enhancing Personal and Professional Communication

  5. Practical Advice and Examples

  6. Words to Use and Words to Avoid

  7. FAQs

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📚 Unlocking the Power of Words

Words are not just words. They are like keys that can unlock doors in both personal and professional settings. Knowing the right words to use, especially during difficult conversations, can be a superpower you never knew you had. For technology professionals, mastering these skills can help in:

  1. Winning over stakeholders during presentations.

  2. Getting buy-in to your ideas in team meetings.

  3. Improving teamwork and collaboration within your projects.

  4. Resolving conflicts easily and quickly.

🗣️ In Conversation with Sam Horn

Imagine if words were like martial arts moves. Just as a skilled martial artist can deflect an opponent’s strike with precision and grace, we can use the right words to navigate challenging conversations and turn conflict into cooperation.

With over 20 years of experience, Sam has written various books that help people communicate more effectively. Sam describes how the right words can make a big difference in both personal and professional life.

👥 Tips for Turning Conflict into Cooperation

One of the main teachings in Sam Horn's book, "Tongue Fu," is about turning arguments into agreements simply through the words we choose. Let’s break down a few tips.

Eliminate the Word “But”

Sam shared a valuable story from her book, "Tongue Fu." She talks about how powerful and gentle words can create harmony and make people see you as a leader and problem solver. In the middle of a conversation or an argument, try using "and" to connect thoughts instead of "but," which often creates conflict and resistance.

“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” – Elvis Presley

Think about the difference between these two sentences:

  • “You did a great job, but you forgot to finish the report.”

  • “You did a great job, and I noticed the report isn’t finished yet. Can you get on that?”

The second sentence is more constructive and keeps the conversation positive.

Use the Word “And”

Replace “but” with “and” to keep the dialogue flowing. For example:

  • “I understand what you’re saying, and I think we need to look at it another way.”

  • “I see your point, and I have another idea.”

“Respect is earned, honesty is appreciated, trust is gained, and loyalty is returned.” – Unknown

Using "and" builds respect and shows that you appreciate the other person's viewpoint.

🌟 Enhancing Personal and Professional Communication

Sometimes we face situations where nothing seems to work. Sam Horn teaches that what we say can make or break the situation. Here are three magical phrases you can use at work.

The Power of “Could You Please”

Instead of saying, “You need to finish this,” try saying, “Could you please finish this by tomorrow?” This phrase shows respect and courtesy.

Say “Start” Instead of “Stop”

When correcting someone, avoid saying “Stop doing this.” Instead, guide them by saying, “Start doing that.” For example:

  • Instead of “Stop being late,” say “Start coming in on time.”

Transform “No” with “Yes, As Soon As”

If you need to turn down a request, try this:

  • Instead of “No, you can’t talk to Bob because he’s out,” say “Yes, you can talk to Bob as soon as he gets back on Monday.”

“Choose to be kind over being right and you’ll be right every time.” – Richard Carlson

This small change shows that you’re willing to help and makes the “no” easier to accept.

🎉 Practical Advice and Examples

Sam Horn shared various real-life scenarios during the podcast to show how these words work in practice. Here are some examples:

Scenario 1: Parent-Child Interaction

Sam explained how her son Andrew uses gentle words to guide his son Hero.

  • Instead of yelling, “Don’t bang the guitar!” he said, “Be gentle.”

  • Hero changed his action from strong banging to gentle strumming.

Scenario 2: The Office Environment

Sam discussed a situation where a manager had to give negative feedback.

  • Instead of saying, “You did this wrong,” try saying, “I noticed you did this, and here's how you can improve.”

Using this approach ensures that the conversation stays positive and productive.

Scenario 3: Asking for a Promotion

Asking for a promotion can be daunting, but Sam Horn offers practical steps to make the process smoother.

Step 1: Address Common Objections

Voice the Objection: Start by addressing the reasons why your boss might say no. For example, “You may be thinking I don’t have enough experience for this role, and I understand that concern.”

Step 2: Bridge with “And”

Use "And" to Connect: Avoid using “but” as it may create conflict. Instead, bridge your statement with “and.” For instance, “You may be thinking I don’t have enough experience, and I’ve been working hard to develop the necessary skills.”

Step 3: Address Time Efficiently

Be Concise: Time is precious. Let your boss know you won’t take much of it. For example, “I’ve condensed my reasons to just a few minutes. May I have a moment?”

Step 4: Show How It’s an ROI for Them

Highlight Benefits: Explain how promoting you will benefit the company and align with their priorities. “Promoting me can help meet our team's goals because I've successfully handled projects like this one before.”

By following these steps, you’re showing respect for their time and their concerns, making it easier for your boss to say yes.

🏆 Words to Use and Words to Avoid

Here are some words and phrases to use and avoid in different scenarios:

To Show Understanding:

Words to Avoid: but

Words to Use: and, additionally

To Give Directions:

Words to Avoid: you need to, you must

Words to Use: could you please, if you would

To Correct Behavior:

Words to Avoid: stop, don’t

Words to Use: start, let’s try

To Handle Mistakes:

Words to Avoid: can’t because

Words to Use: can as soon as

🤔 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Why should technology professionals care about communication? A: Good communication can help in explaining complex ideas, winning clients, and promoting teamwork, which are all crucial for career success.

Q2: What’s a good way to approach my boss for a promotion? A: Address the common objections first, use time-efficient language, and show how you can meet their priorities.

Q3: How can I correct someone without sounding rude? A: Use "start" instead of "stop" and guide them on what to do next.

Q4: What’s the main idea of “Tongue Fu”? A: "Tongue Fu" teaches us how to use words wisely to turn conflict into cooperation and improve our relationships.

Q5: How can I find more tips from Sam Horn? A: You can find Sam Horn on LinkedIn, visit her website, or read her books like "Tongue Fu" and "Talking on Eggshells."

Mastering the art of using the right words can create a positive environment at work and in personal life. So start practising these techniques today and let me know how you get on.

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Sam Horn

Sam Horn has over 20 years of experience as an intrigue expert and has spent those years cultivating great communication and branding strategies for companies such as CISCO, Intel, and NASA. Her writing has appeared in various publications such as Businessweek, Forbes, and the Huffington Post. Her books include Pop: Create the Perfect Pitch, Title, and Tagline for Anything, What’s Holding You Back? and Tongue Fu!: How to Deflect, Disarm, and Defuse Any Verbal Conflict.

⚡️ In each episode, Paddy Dhanda deep dives into a new human Superpower to help you thrive in the age of AI.

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