Miller’s Law to understand another person

Miller’s Law: “In order to understand what another person is saying, you must assume that it is true and try to find out what it could be true of.” (George Miller, 1980) Suzette Haden Elgin explains how this works in You Can’t Say That to Me: Stopping the Pain of Verbal Abuse.

  • We assume that what we heard is true, giving the other person the benefit of the doubt.
  • We listen with an open mind, so that we can get the information we need to verify that assumption and find out what it is true of.

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Here are examples of what you can say to correct  misunderstandings.

When language you hear doesn’t make sense or seems deliberately hurtful.

  • I think I must have misunderstood you. Could you say that again for me, please?
  • I know you wouldn’t have said that unless you had a good reason; could you tell me what it was?

When someone else reacts negatively to your speech.

  • I have a feeling that perhaps you misunderstood me. Let me try to be more clear.
  • I know you wouldn’t have reacted like that to what I said without a good reason. I’d like very much to know what it is.

___________________________

If you have a situation to share, you are invited to reply to this post.

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For more information:
www.anitamorgan.com
Copyright 2013 by Anita Morgan

Neutralizing a verbal attack with computing mode

When someone is angry, communication is difficult or impossible. You first need to neutralize the anger. Virginia Satir, Suzette Haden Elgin, and Terry Dobson provide us with tools.

  • Center yourself
  • Use Satir computing mode
  • Say something that is courteous, appropriate, and that both people can agree with
  • Match sensory language or avoid using any sensory language

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Here’s an example from Elgin’s blog

A distraught family member (FM) is dealing with a hospital staff person (HS) in the financial “exit” process.

FM: “How can you POSSibly stand there HASSLING me at a TIME like THIS??”
HS: “People have a hard time thinking about money when someone they love is in pain.”
___________________________

If you have a situation to share, you are invited to reply to this post.

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For more information:
www.anitamorgan.com
Copyright 2013 by Anita Morgan

Las Vegas workshop, Spring 2013

Neutralizing Verbal Attacks Workshop, Spring 2013

Do you ever feel anxious when verbally attacked? Has your response to a verbal attack ever damaged a relationship?  Learn effective ways to deal with people when they are verbally attacking.

During the course you will:

  • learn techniques for centering, staying calm, and performing at your best under the pressure of a verbal attack
  • explore effective ways to respond to verbal attacks based on Aikido, a Japanese martial art, and the modern science of psycholinguistics
  • practice centering and new ways of responding to verbal attacks

Learn simple tools you can put to use immediately to stay calm and respond well to verbal attacks.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNLV Paradise Campus.
Las Vegas, Nevada. For more information, click here.

www.anitamorgan.com
Copyright 2013 by Anita Morgan

Welcome

Welcome to the Neutralizing Verbal Attacks blog. The purpose of this blog is to share effective ways to deal with people when they are verbally attacking.

You are invited to reply or leave a comment for any of the posts in the blog. We ask that your comment be related to the post, and that you add your own knowledge and experience.

There is a post, Anything Goes, that you can use for any topic you wish.

We hope you learn more about Neutralizing Verbal Attacks from sharing your experiences in the blog.

www.anitamorgan.com
Copyright 2013 by Anita Morgan

For more information:
Verbal Aikido
Aikido in Everyday Life by Terry Dobson
Psycholinguistics:
You Can’t Say That to Me: Stopping the Pain of Verbal Abuse

The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-Defense: Revised and Updated 2009
by Suzette Haden Elgin