I had high expectations for Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion by George Thompson and Jerry Jenkins. I expected this book to be focused on public speaking and effective ways to give speeches. This book, however, is much more basic than that.
The author (Thompson) is a retired police officer and developed the art of verbal judo in response to situations he faced while serving on the police force. From personal experience, he realized how easy it was to antagonize people. As he observed veteran police officers, he recognized men who learned how to defuse tension in a situation, avoiding verbal battles, fights, and arrests. Thompson began analyzing how these officers handled situations and developed verbal judo.
The book is helpful even for people who don’t find themselves in dangerous situations like police officers do. This book talks about how to empathize with others, eliminating tension and creating an atmosphere that promotes discussion. One of the biggest aspects to verbal judo is basic self-discipline. Rather than reacting to those who insult us, verbal judo encourages an answer that exhibits self-control. Thompson gives multiple tips on specific ways to exude confidence and empathy.
While he does seem to focus quite a bit on his experiences as a police officer, he points out that the principles of verbal judo will help anyone who wants to learn to communicate with a spouse, children, or friends. Verbal judo is essentially the art of self-discipline in speech so that you can respond to others rather than react to them.
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