Do You Tongue Fu!® ?

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Do you ever find yourself tongue-tied or tongue-twisted?

Would you like to know what to say  – when you don’t know what to say?

I’ve created a communication process called Tongue Fu!®

What is Tongue Fu!® you ask?

It’s best defined by an incident that took place while I was flying to NYC for a TV interview.  I needed to double-check a quote in the book, so I pulled out my copy from my purse.

A woman across the aisle from me glanced at the title, grabbed the book out of my hands, and pronounced, “That looks interesting. Tell me what it’s about!”

“Well,” I said,, “It’s how to handle difficult people … without becoming one ourselves.”

She chuckled, and we went on to have a constructive conversation about some of the challenging customers and colleagues she was dealing with at work.

My book Tongue Fu!®  (think of it as a verbal form of kung fu, as martial arts for the mind and mouth) has been sold around the world,  is currently ranked #3 on the bestseller list in Korea, and has been taught to the U.S. Embassy in London, Boeing, Lumley Insurance, ASAE, the U.S. Navy, NASA and many others.

Here are a few tips that can help you think on your feet (seat!) and respond pro-actively to challenging situations, instead of thinking of the perfect response…on the way home.

Tip 1When people complain, don’t explain. 

Why? Explanations come across as excuses.

Instead, take the AAA train: Agree, Apologize, and Act.

Agree: “You’re right, Mrs. Smith, I was supposed to call you with your account update this morning.

Apologize:  “And I’m sorry I didn’t call as promised.

Act:   “I’ve got that information you had requested. I would be glad to give it to you now or email it. Which works better for you?”

Tip 2. Has someone made an unfair, untrue accusation?

Don’t deny, defend or disagree. All three just make matters worse.

For example, “if someone says, “You women are so emotional,” and you retort, “We are NOT emotional,”  you just proved them right!

If someone says, “You don’t care about your customers,”  and you say, “That’s not true, we pride ourselves on our quality service,”  you are arguing with that person,  making them wrong and making matters worse.

Instead, put the conversational ball back in their court with these five words, “What makes you think that?”

For example, “What makes you think we don’t care about our customers?”

The person may explain, “Well, I’ve left three messages and no one has called me back.”

Aaahh.  Asking a question instead of denying their accusation causes the other person to reveal the real issue.  Address that instead of reacting to their attack.  Say, “I am so sorry you left those messages and haven’t heard back.  What can I help you with?”

Tip 3:  Are you sensitive about a personal issue?  Do people tease you about something?

Don’t get flustered; use Fun Fu!

Erma Bombeck (bless her soul) said, “If we can laugh at it, we can live with it.”

Perhaps you’re losing your hair, carrying some extra pounds or have an accent.

You have a choice: You can let people tease you and “get your goat,” or you can come up with clever, non-combative comebacks so people no longer have the power to push your hot buttons.

Here’s my favorite Fun Fu! example.

I was in San Francisco Airport headed to my gate when I noticed a very tall man coming my way. i couldn’t believe it.  People in front of me were laughing at him and pointing.

I thought, “How rude!” Then he got closer, and I could see why they were laughing.

He had on a t-shirt that said in very large letters, “No, I’m not a basketball player!”

As he walked by, I turned to say something and saw the back of his shirt which said, “Are you a jockey?”

I had to chase down this Fun Fu! black belt.  I told him, “This is brilliant.  How did you come up with this?”

He said, “Oh, I didn’t come up with this.  My mom did.  I grew a foot between the time I was 13-16 years old.  I didn’t even want to go out of the house because everyone had to make a smart-aleck remark. My mom finally told me, “If ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

He continued, “This is nothing.  I’ve got a drawer full of these shirts at home. My favorite says, “I’m 6’13 and the weather up here is  fine.”

Then he said the pay-off line. “Ever since I started wearing these shirts, I’ve had fun with my height instead of being frustrated by my height.”

What are you sensitive about?  Develop a repertoire of Fun Fu! comebacks so people will know you’re up to their test and can give as good as you get.

Want more ways to think on your feet (and seat) so you’re never tongue-tied or tongue-twisted again?

These are just 3 of dozens of responses you’ll learn to challenging situations you face at work, at home and in the community.

Order Tongue Fu! here.

It’s available instantly as a Kindle or you can order volume copies for your team and use the book at staff meetings to train your employees how to use Tongue Fu! to turn conflict into cooperation.  Enjoy.

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